DARĀMAD (lit., “introduction”), an episode in the course of a musical performance, the nature and length of which vary with the material introduced. The darāmad of a modal system (dastgāh) is thus more developed than that of one of its sections (gūšas). Only when the darāmad is long enough to constitute a distinct entity is it recognized in the nomenclature of the gūšas of a modal system (āvāz, or dastgāh), for example, darāmad-e Šūr or darāmad-e Zābol. In other instances the darāmad consists only of the few introductory notes of a melodic type (small gūša; Tsuge, p. 225). The general concept of the darāmad can also be extended to include the entire group of sections placed at the beginning of a dastgāh, expressing the essential character (māya) of the mode (Nettl, p. 68) in a relatively restricted register independent of its modulations, so that it can be identified instantly. In both form and function the darāmad properly so-called expresses the fundamental character of a dastgāh or large gūša; in this sense the darāmad or darāmads of Māhūr represent Māhūr itself, less as a composite modal system (dastgāh or radīf) than as a fundamental mode (maqām). For this reason, though in a free performance gūša or dastgāh may be omitted, it is impossible to omit the darāmad.

The darāmād begins in the lower register of the mode, with a fairly limited range and in a slow tempo; it gradually expands to include the essential intervals in a precisely determined order and with typical motifs (“signatures”) contributing to its identification (During, pp. 136-39; Nettl, pp. 43-64); in singing it does not normally have a text (for further details, cf. Masʿūdīya, p. 7). Certain gūšas that occur (sometimes several in succession) at the beginning of a dastgāh and fulfill these same criteria are known either by the generic term darāmad; by a proper name, for example, darāmad-eḴārā, darāmad-eZang-e Šotor (i.e., “introduction known as Ḵārā,” “introduction known as Zang-e Šotor”), and so on; or by its function and position (e.g., second or third darāmad). This terminology also varies somewhat in the radīf (sequence of āvāzes and dastgāhs) of each master.

The term moqaddama can be considered a synonym for darāmad (Nettl, p. 68), though sometimes it has overtones suggesting that it appears first. Measured introductory pieces, in the sense of moqaddama or pīš-darāmad, like Koroḡlī in Māhūr, have sometimes been called darāmad.

The term darāmad is not found in other musical traditions, except in the Azerbaijan radīf, where it has the meaning of a measured preamble (corresponding to the Persian pīš-darāmad); the Azerī equivalent of darāmad is called māya (mode).


For a music sample, see Borumand - Daramads of šur


J. During, La musique iranienne. Tradition et évolution, Paris, 1984.

M. Maʿrūfī, Radīf-e haft dastgāh-e mūsīqī-e īrānī/Les systèmes de la musique traditonnelle iranienne (radīf), Tehran, 1342 Š./1963; 2nd ed., Tehran, 1352 Š./1973.

M.-T. Masʿūdīya (Massoudieh), Radīf-e āvāzī-e mūsīqī-e sonnatī-e Īrān/Radīf vocal de la musique iranienne, Tehran, 1357 Š./1978.

B. Nettl, The Radif of Persian Music. Studies of Structures and Cultural Context, Champaign, Ill., 1987.

G. Tsuge, “Rhythmic Aspects of the Avaz in Persian Music,” Ethnomusicology 14, 1970, pp. 205-27.

(Jean During)

Originally Published: December 15, 1994

Last Updated: November 15, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. VII, Fasc. 1, p. 11