QĀNUNI, Jalāl (b. Shiraz, 1900; d. Shiraz, 22 Mehr 1366/14 October 1987), master of Persian classical music, and expert in Daštestāni music (folk music from the Fārs province). His father, Raḥim Qānuni, was a master qānun (trapezoidal zither) player who re-introduced this instrument into Persia. After his death Jalāl replaced him as the most renowned qānun player in the country (Ḵāleqi, I, pp. 191-93). Jalāl was a master performer of the Persian modal system dastgāh and, as an acclaimed professional musician, led an ensemble with three other musicians, namely Jalāl Āqābālā (Bālāzāda, tār), Laṭif Pejman (violin), and Manučehr Širāzi (vocalist; tombak/żarb). Qānuni’s group was particularly acclaimed for its broad knowledge and exceptional performance of Daštestāni melodies. Their work was much appreciated by Moḥammad-Reżā Shah Pahlavi (r. 1941-79), for whom they routinely performed during his visits to Shiraz (Chaouli, 2002, pp. 179-80; Javanizadeh). A number of Jalāl’s solo and group performances were broadcast live on Radio Shiraz, Radio Iran, and National Iranian Television, though none are known to have been recorded. Jalāl Qānuni died in Shiraz on 14 October 1987 (22 Mehr 1366). Though never a professional musician, Jalāl’s younger brother ʿAziz was a skilled tār player who learned the radif from Morteżā Neydāwud. ʿAziz was born in Shiraz on 16 September 1918 and died in Phoenix, Arizona, on 2 May 2005 (Ghanuni Behbudi).


Farideh Ghanuni Behbudi, ʿAziz Qānuni’s daughter, personal interview, 7 July 2007.

Šāpur Behruzi, Čehrahā-ye musiqi-e Irān I, Tehran, 1993, pp. 240-42.

Alain Chaouli, “Les Musiciens juifs en Iran aux XIXe et XXe siècles et leur contribution à la sauvegarde du patrimoine musical iranien,” Ph.D. diss., Université de Paris III, Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris, 2002.

Idem, Les musiciens juifs en Iran aux XIXe et Xxe siècles, Paris, 2006.

Behjat Ghanuni, ʿAziz Qānuni’s wife, personal interviews, 8 March 2006, and 7 July 2007.

Shahpour Javanizadeh, personal interviews, 21 and 28 March 2006.

Ruḥ-Allāh Ḵāleqi, Sargoḏašt-e musiqi-e Irān, 6th ed., 2 vols., Tehran, 1997; III, ed. ʿAli-Moḥammad Dašti, Tehran, 1998.

March 6, 2009

(Houman Sarshar)

Originally Published: March 6, 2009

Last Updated: March 6, 2009