ŠAHNĀZI, ʿAbd-al-Ḥosayn, (b. Tehran, 1284 Š./1905; d. Tehran, 1327 Š./1948) musician and performer of the tār (a plucked long-necked lute). He was the younger son of Āqā Ḥosayn Qoli (q.v.), the master musician and player of the tār. ʿAbd-al-Ḥosayn received his tār training from his elder brother ʿAli-Akbar Šahnāzi, and learned the Persian repertoires (radifs) from his brother-in-law, Bāqer Khan Rāmešgar, the celebrated performer of the kamānča (spiked fiddle) eventually becoming one of the prominent performers of the tār and the innovator of certain new techniques of tuning this instrument. Šahnāzi was one of the first musicians to join Radio Tehran after its inception in 1940, eventually becoming one of the chief planners of its musical programs.
In his performances, Šahnāzi did not concern himself with following the repertoires of Persian music; instead, he preferred toimprovise sweet-sounding gušas (melodic pieces), and gradually became the innovator of what was later called širin-navāzi (sweet improvisation; Behruzi, pp. 85-86). The prominent features of Šahnāzi’s performance were his swift strumming, his expressive musical phrases, and his innovativeness in the composition and performance of rhythmic melodies (Ṣad sāl tār, p.10).
Because of his early death and the shortage of recording facilities during his lifetime, Šahnāzi’s surviving solo works are limited to certain performances in homāyun and bidād, rāst-e panjgāh and māvarā’-al-nahr. There are also some taṣnifs (rhythmic songs) in čahārgāh, šahrāšub, afšāri, and šekasta with the vocal performance of Eqbāl-al-Sulṭān Aḏar, and some in māhur and qarā’i with the vocal performance of Javād Badiʿzāda.
Š. Behruzi, Čehrahā-ye musiqi-e Irān, I, 2nd ed., Tehran, 1993, pp. 85-86.
Ṣad sāl tār, Tehran, 2001. S. Sepantā, Čašmandāz-e musiqi-e Irān, Tehran, 1990, p. 74.
(Morteżā Ḥoseyni Dehkordi)
Originally Published: December 10, 2010
Last Updated: December 10, 2010