DAŠTĪ, one of the twelve modal systems in the repertoire of traditional music (radīf); it is an āvāz, or auxiliary modal system, derived from or attached to the dastgāh Šūr. Its defining feature is the combination of two descending pentachords (G, F, Eb, D, C, Bb and Dp, C Bb Ap G) in such a way that D, the fundamental note of the first pentachord, is lowered a quarter-tone, or koron (p), in the second pentachord. This sudden shift from D to Dp confers a very particular character on Daštī, distinguishing it clearly from such related modes as Ḥejāz, Bayāt-e Kord, and Bayāt-e rāja. Like all āvāzes it begins in the upper register of the scale (D) and finishes in the lower register (G), which is the opening register of Šūr. The principal internal modulation, aside from the shift from the first to the second pentachord, occurs in the ascending sequence D, Ep, F, G, (Ab), in which G is emphasized, before the descent beginning on D. This modulation (awj) is sometimes transformed into ʿOššāq: D, Ep, F, G, Ap, Bb (C) (Caron and Safvate, p. 67).
Daštī is one of those probably ancient modes that have only recently been codified and canonized. It is not mentioned in the classical texts or in related learned traditions in which the features of early Persian music have been preserved. According to Yūsof Forūtan (personal communication), Daštī was borrowed in the 19th century from the vocal repertoire of the Būšehr region, which is celebrated for religious songs. The taʿzīa (Shiʿite passion play) may have been one of the means by which it spread. Some of the attached gūšas (melodies), like Hājīānī and Bīdekānī, came from the same region (Kukertz and Masʿūdīya, pp. 16-17), and the melodies that can be collected there nowadays still show obvious similarities, despite the refinement that this mode has undergone while being integrated into the classical radīf. Daštī is also found in the songs of northern Persia. Its popular origins are attested by the gūšas of which it is composed (e.g., Gīlakī, Bīdekānī, Čūpānī, Deylamān, Daštestānī). It is because of its coloration and the familiarity with Daštī among the Lors that Daštī is recommended for singing the poems of Bābā Ṭāher. For some people this characteristic coloration seems to express rather sprightly and positive feelings (Nettl, p. 10); nevertheless, its dual structure lends another aspect, considered particularly melancholy (Caron and Safvate, p. 67).
The fact that Daštī is also among the māqāms (modes) of Iraq must be interpreted as the result of a borrowing either from Persian art music or from the southern Persian popular tradition. It was equally known to musicians from Herat, who played Persian dastgāhs. Although it is still found in the art music of Azerbaijan, it is a secondary māqām and seldom played; nor does it include the characteristic lowering of the fundamental note by a quarter-tone. In the repertoire of Mīrzā Faraj Rezaiev (Reżāʾīev; 1263-1342/1847-1924) the sequence of gūšas Bayāt-e Kord, Ḥājīānī, Gīlakī, Daštī formed part of the development of the Azeri dastgāh Bayāt-e Šīrāz. Although the assimilation of Bayāt-e Šīrāz to Daštī has gone out of fashion, it was still mentioned by Mīrzā Moḥammad-Naṣīr Forṣat Šīrāzī (p. 26).
Daštī is unknown in other traditions, and, although some very closely related modes are current in Turkey, Kurdistan, Bukhara, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan, none includes the modulation that is its most defining feature.
One of the most complete versions of Daštī is that of Maḥmūd Karīmī (Masʿūdīya), with the gūšas Darāmad, Awj, Gīlakī, Bīdekānī, Čūpānī, Daštestānī, Ḡamangīz, Deylamān, and Maṯnawī. In Mūsā Maʿrūfī’s version other gūšas have been added: Ḥājīānī (highly developed but redundant), Kūča-bāḡī, and Samalī. Gawrī can also be added. The version of Mīrzā ʿAbd-Allāh (q.v.), on the other hand, is very restricted, lasting no more than six minutes and including only the gūšas Awj, Bīdekānī, and Ḥājīānī (During, 1991, pp. 151-52). Two very rare gūšas, Mamasanī and Sāranj, belong properly to the radīf for the ney (school of Isfahan; During, 1981). These differences, to which should be added notable variations in performance, are evidence that āvāz-e Daštī was codified late and is thus more open to addition of gūšas drawn principally from a background of popular songs consisting of do-baytīs (Kukertz and Masʿūdīya, pp. 16-17) or folk poetry (Joneydī, pp. 220-21).
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Originally Published: December 15, 1994
Last Updated: November 18, 2011
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Vol. VII, Fasc. 1, pp. 107-108