FORŪD (lit. descent;Forūvard in Bukharian tradition, Ayaq in Azeri moqām), general designation of the concluding motif of a melodic sequence in Persian music.

The present usage does not seem to take into consideration the original meaning of the word, which indicates not a motif but a movement, i.e., a melodic direction. This meaning is apparent in most endings since, by definition, the traditional musics of maqām develop while ascending in the high register—exceptions apart—and terminate in the low one upon return by descending to the point of departure, either real or theoretical, on an expressive plain corresponding to a “return home” (Nettl, pp. 22-23) upon modulation. Thus the forūds of the great gūšas of the Persian radīf are never accomplished in a register higher than that of the beginning (darāmad). Yet it seems that this aspect of melodic movement is taken less into consideration in the concept of forūd than that of “final motif.” The Persian radīf is more than an organization of modal structures of composition. Among these melodic figures (gūšas of varying importance) some have an introductory function, i.e., darāmad; others, the majority, a developing function; and finally others, one of conclusion. However, only the longest concluding motifs, occurring after great gūšas constituting modulations, are counted as complete gūšas and called forūd or forūd of such and such gūša, for example, as in the radīf of Mīrzā ʿAbd-Allāh (q.v.; During, 1991a), where the forūd of the gūša of the āvāz Eṣfahān is situated before the modulation sūz o godāz. Other gūšas, such as ʿāšeqkoš to conclude the dastgāh Šūr and denāserī to conclude the dastgāh Homāyūn, also function as forūd but are not called thus. In the case of great concluding melodies, the term ḵātema (finale, conclusion) is more appropriate.

The most common usage of the term is neither as “finale” of a long performance nor as of “descent” but something in between the two, i.e., a brief concluding motif of a gūša. In that sense, the term forūd is generally not listed among the gūšas of radīf but simply indicated by the masters during oral teaching, particularly when it has to do with a recurring motif appearing in several gūšas—at times with variations. Although “many gūšas have no forūd and directly link to the one following” (Kayānī, p. 50), the important gūšas, notably the first part (darāmad) of long developments of a dastgāh, end in a characteristic motif which, in addition to other functions, allows the identification of the dastgāh. (It is to be noted that, for example, the dastgāhs Māhūr and Rāst-panjgāhare very close, but their respective forūds make it possible to distinguish one from the other.) The repetition of a concluding motif plays exactly the role of a rhyme in the ḡazal (q.v.) or better yet, of a tarjīʿ-band. It contributes to the formal unity of the gūšas which are comparable in all points to the bayt (distych), and which, moreover, are each destined to accompany the singing a bayt, as During has demonstrated (1991b, pp. 158, 162).

For a music sample, see Denaseri.



J. During, Le répertoire-modèle de la musique persane: Radif de târ et de setâr de Mirzâ ʿAbdollâh, Tehran, 1370 Š./1991a.

Idem, Z. Mirabdolbaghi and D. Safvat, The Art of Persian Music, Washington, D.C., 1991b.

H. Farhat, The Dastgâh Concept in Persian Music, Cambridge, 1989.

M. Kayānī, Haft dastgāh-e mūsīqī-e īrānī, Tehran, 1368 Š./1989.

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

(Jean During)

Originally Published: December 15, 1999

Last Updated: January 31, 2012

This article is available in print.
Vol. X, Fasc. 1, pp. 106-107