YĀḤAQQI, Ḥosayn (b. Tehran, 1282 Š./1903, d. Tehran, 1347 Š./1968) renowned composer and performer of the violin and the kamānča (spiked fiddle) and instructor of music. His last name ‘Yāhaggi‘ is derived from his catch phrase “Yā Ḥaaq,” a phrase frequently used by dervishes meaning ‘God Almighty’.
Ḥosayn was deeply interested in music from his childhood, and because he had a melodious and high-pitched voice, he participated in ta‘zia (the Shi‘ite passion plays) as a reciter and singer, through which he became initially acquainted with music—a development which gave him further incentive to pursue his passion to achieve mastery of music. His first music teacher was his elder sister, Farroḵ laqā ḵānom, one of the most prominent musicians of the time. She was an accomplished player of the the piano, the organ, the tonbak (Persian drum), and thr kamānča, which Ḥosayn began to study. After the premature death of Farroḵ laqā, Ḥosayn joined the classes of the celebrated kamānča performer Ḥosayn Esma‘ilzāda. Yāḥaqqi expressed an early musical genius, and became a proficient performer of the kamānča by age 16. He then began studying the santur (hammered dulcimer), the setār (a plucked long-necked lute), and the violin, soongaining mastery of these instruments as well. Later, Yāḥaqqi joined the music classes of the master musician Abu’l Ḥasan Ṣabā to learn musical notation and other scientific principles of music. He ultimately opened his own music classes in Tehran, beginning his career as an instructor of music. Yāḥaqqi’s music classes turned out to be among the most successful in Tehran, attracting a large number of young music enthusiasts. Many of the later renowned musicians of Iran, such as Mahdi Ḵāledi, ‘Ali Tajvidi (q.v.), ‘Abbās Šāpuri (q.v.) and Parviz Yāḥaqqi, received their training in these classes.
When the performance of the violin, which was a foreign instrument in Iran, became widespread, Yāḥaqqi picked the violin as his principal instrument. He, however, availed himself of the expertise and the techniques he had developed in playing the kamānča in the performance of the violin, and thus created a unique style of violin performance as well.
When Radio Tehran was established, Yāḥaqqi was one of the first Iranian musicians to join this organization as a performer of the violin. Some years later, however, with the encouragement and insistence of Ruḥ-Allāh Ḵāleqi and Esmā‘il Navvāb Ṣafā (q.v.), and with the goal of reviving some of the traditional Persian musical instruments, Yāḥaqqi returned to playing the kamānča and his performances were frequently broadcast by Radio Tehran.
During his career as a musician, Yāḥaqqi composed some 500 melodious pieces including taṣnifs (rhythmic songs), pišdarāmads (preludes), rengs (classical dance forms), and čahār meżrāb (improvised musical solos), some of which were recorded on musical records and have survived. One such composition is a piece performed by the celebrated vocalist Tāj Eṣfahāni in Homāyun dastgāh (traditional mode) and bidād guša (melodic piece). His most famous taṣnifs are as follows :
Song title, Lyricist, Original vocalist, Traditional mode
Barq-e gām, Rahi Mo‘aiyeri,Qamar al-moluk Waziri, ABU ‘ATĀ
Didi ey del, Rahi Mo‘aiyeri, Ḡolām Ḥosayn Banān, DAŠTI
Bi Ḵabar, Esmā‘il Navvāb Ṣafā, Marżiya, DAŠTI
Javāni, Esmā‘il Navāb Ṣafā, Ḥosayn Qavāmi, AFŠĀRI
H. Naṣirifar, Mardān-e musiqi-e sonnati wa novin-e Iran I, 4th ed., Tehran, 1370 Š./1991, p. 220.
Esmā‘il Navvāb Ṣafā, Qeṣṣa-ye šam‘, ḵaṭerāt-e honari-e Esma‘il Navvāb Ṣafā, first ed., Tehran, 1377 Š./ 1998, pp. 154-62.
S. Sepantā, Čašmandāz-e musiqi-e Iran, First ed., Tehran, 1369 Š./1990, p.188.
(Morteżā Ḥoseyni Dehkordi)
Originally Published: December 10, 2010
Last Updated: December 10, 2010