AFŠĀRĪ, one of the twelve dastgāhs or modal systems of classical Iranian music. In the contemporary tradition, Afšārī is customarily classified as a derivative of the dastgāh Šūr. In fact, however, Afšārī is quite independent and possesses its own modal characteristics as well as its own forūd (cadence) pattern. In the darāmad (the introductory and the main part of the dastgāh) Afšārī has the modal scheme shown in Figure 1.
An improvisation in the above mode must necessarily take on the following characteristics: 1. The finalis (note C in the above scale) is used sparingly and is mostly saved for the ending of the darāmad. 2. The tone D is melodically unimportant and can be left out altogether. 3. The tone Ep is the īst (temporary halting point); nearly all phrases end on this note. It is also very important as a point of melodic emphasis. 4. The tone F functions more as a passing tone and does not take on a significant role. 5. The tone G is the šāhed (reciting tone) and, as such, is very significant. It also acts frequently as the āḡāz (starting tone). 6. Ap is the motagāyyer (changing tone); in ascending passages it is raised to A . 7. Bb and C are non-essential in the darāmad but become important in some of the ensuing gūšahā (pieces that are part of the repertory of a dastgāh).
Afšārī is not an extensive dastgāh and possesses, in addition to its darāmad, the following main gūšas: Bayāt-e Rāǰeʿ, Rohāb, Masīḥī, Naḥīb, and Maṯnawī Pīč.
N. Caron and D. Safvate, Les traditions musicales: Iran, Paris, 1966, pp. 68-70.
H. Farhat, The Dastgāh Concept in Persian Music, Ph.D. diss., University of California, Los Angeles, 1965, pp. 92-100, 317-21.
M. Karīmī and M. T. Masʿūdīya, Radīf-e āvāzī-e mūsīqī-e sonnatī-e Īrān, Tehran, 1978, pp. 58-69.
R. Ḵāleqī, Naẓar-ī be mūsīqī II, Tehran, 1352 Š./ 1973, pp. 157-65.
M. Maʿroufi, Les sytèmes de la musique traditionnelle de l’Iran (radif), Tehran, 1973.
E. Zonis, Classical Persian Music, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1973, pp. 75-77.
Figure 1. Afšārī mode. Markings above the staff: F = Finalis; I = īst (temporary halting point); Š = šāhed (reciting tone); Ā = āḡāz (starting tone); M = motaḡayyer (changing tone). Markings below the staff: N = large neutral step of about 170 cents; n = small neutral step of about 130 cents; M = whole step of about 204 cents.
Originally Published: December 15, 1984
Last Updated: July 28, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 6, pp. 586-587
H. Farhat, “Afsari,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/6, pp. 586-587; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/afsari (accessed on 14 March 2014).