HOMĀYUN (lit. “auspicious”), an important modal system (dastgāh, q.v.) in traditional Persian music in a typical scale centered on G: D Ep F G Ap B C D Eb (p) F. In the first phases of modal development, the polarized note is primarily Ap, reached through the low-pitched (E p F G Ap), but all the phrases are concluded with G, which plays the role of the first degree and, later on, the reference note. Modulations consist essentially in carrying the reference note to D, C, G. Homāyun comprises some thirty sections (guša, q.v.), of which the most important are Čakāvak, Ṭarz (on C), Bidād (on D), Suz o godāz, Layli o Majnun, Nowruz-e ʿArab, Nowruz-e ṣabā, Nowruz-e ḵārā, Šuštari, Jāmadarān, Baḵtiāri, ʿOzzāl, etc. To these are added a long modulation in ʿOššāq (radif of Musā Maʿrufi), two short citations of Čahārgāh (Darā-mad and Manṣuri), and two concluding rengs of Šahrāšub and Faraḥ. Some authorities consider Āvāz/Naḡma-ye Eṣfahān as derived from Homāyun; but this theoretical opinion is generally contested, and this āvāz is always played separately, except in the Azerbaijani tradition.

In Persia, Homāyun is one of the most played dast-gāhs, in which innumerable compositions have been made; while in Azerbaijan taṣnifs or rhythmic compositions are rarely made in this mode, which essentially belongs to the classical tradition. It is said that it was played for the first time in Azerbaijan by Ṣādeq Jān Asadoḡlu, the famous tār player of the end of the 19th century, thereby suggesting that it has been borrowed from Persia. Two Azeri versions of this mode may be distinguished, each of which interprets the original Persian neutral tone (G-A p) in its own fashion: one uses the A b, and the other the A lowered by a comma, the version which is sometimes called Caucasian Homāyun (Homāy-lun-e qafqāzi). In our day, however, the masters of maqām tend to return to the Persian intonation with A p and E p, giving Homāyun its original color. The modal development includes also Šuštari, Bidād, and other modulations that do not always have the same name as in Persia. The complete versions are composed of about ten gušasor šoʿbas: Bardāšt, Homāyun, Feyli, Maṯnawi, Tarkib, Bidād, Sāqi-nāma, ʿOzzal, Delrobā, Baḵtiāri, and Ayāq. Despite the affinities, the melodic contents of the gušas are different. Persians as well as Azeris consider Homāyun as a pathetic mode (e.g., Marāḡi, 1987, p. 232), notably in such gušas as Layli o Majnun, Suz o godāz, and Jāmadarān. Many Tajik and Badaḵšāni melodies are developed in a similar mode (māya).

Homāyun is mentioned for the first time by Qoṭb-al-Din Maḥmud Širāzi (Wright, p. 911). ʿAbd-al-Qāder (Marāḡi, 1965, p. 83) counted it as a šoʿba derived from the low-pitched part of the maqām Bozorg (the upper part giving Nehoft), and Moḥammad Lāḏeqi described it in a form similar to the one widespread in our days (tr. d’Erlanger, p. 451). The Turks play it in a similar scale, but replace the Ap by an Ab. With slight modifications, therefore, this mode has preserved its original form. The author of Maʿrefat-e ʿelm-e musiqi pointed out the similarity between Homāyun and ʿArabān, a still common feature of contemporary Turkish music.

For a music sample, see Bidād.

For a music sample, see Čahārmezrāb-e Homāyun.

For a music sample, see Čakāvak.

For a music sample, see Denaseri.



Yaḥyā Ḏokāʾ, ed., “Maʿrefat-e ʿelm-e musiqi” (an anonymous Safavid treatise), in Ḥabib Yaḡmāʾi, Iraj Afšār, and Moḥammad Rowšan, eds., Nāma-ye minovi, Tehran, 1971, pp. 190-98.

Jean During, Le répertoire-modèle de la musique persane: radif de tār et de setār de Mirzā Abdollāh, Tehran, 1991.

Mirzā Moḥammad-Naṣir Forṣat Širāzi (Forṣat-al-Dawla), Boḥur al-alḥān, ed. Moḥammad-Qāsem Ṣāleḥ Rāmsari, Tehran, 1988.

Moḥammad b. ʿAbd-al-Ḥamid Lāḏeqi, al-Resāla al-fatḥiya, tr. R. d’Erlanger, in La Musique arabe IV, Paris, 1939, pp. 259-498.

ʿAbd-al-Qāder b. Ḡaybi Ḥāfeẓ Marāḡi, Maqāṣed al-alḥān, ed. Taqi Bineš, Tehran, 1965.

Idem, Jāmeʿ al-alḥān, ed. Taqi Bineš, Tehran, 1987, pp. 133-34, 144, 164, 232.

Musā Maʿrufi, Radif-e haft dastgāh-e musiqi-e irāni/Les Systèmes de la musique traditionelle iranienne (radif), ed. Mehdi Barkešli, Tehran, 1962; 2nd ed., 1973.

Moḥammad-Taqi Masʿudiya (Massoudieh), Radif-e āvāzi-e musiqi-e sonnati-e Irān ba rewāyat-e Maḥmud Karimi/Radif vocal de la musique iranienne, Tehran, 1978.

Mehdi Setāyešgar, Vāža-nāma-ye musiqi-e Irān-zamin, 2 vols., Tehran, 1995-96, II, pp. 580-84.

Reżā Waḥdāni, Radif-e sāzi-e musiqi-e Irān be rewāyat-e Āqā ʿAli-Akbar Šahnāzi . . . , Tehran, 1997.

Owen Wright, The Modal System of Arab and Persian Music, A.D. 1250-1300, London, 1978.


(Jean During)

Originally Published: December 15, 2004

Last Updated: March 23, 2012

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Vol. XII, Fasc. 4, p. 437