The etchnic culture of Azerbaijan
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Sounding of instrument

Tar, decorated with mother-of-pearl
The State Museum
of Azerbaijani
Musical Culture.
The 20th s.

According to its technical and dynamic capabilities, the contemporary tar is considered to be the most improved of the Azerbaijani string instruments. Uzeyir Hajibeyov wrote the following about the technical and acoustic capabilities of the instrument: "The tar is the most important and the most valuable of instruments in Eastern musical education."

In Persian, the word "tar" means "string" or "wire". Like other musical instruments, the contemporary tar was formed on the basis of its predecessors and has followed a long path of development and improvement.

The tar is referred to in the works of medieval classical poets such as Gatran Tabrizi, Nizami Ganjavi and Mohammad Fuzuli. The tar is mentioned in Nizami Ganjavi's "Iskandarname":

Singer, play the tar one more night,
Give me relief from this torment!
Maybe a way will open for me,
Maybe I can get free of this place.

There are various kinds of tar, such as the "du-tar" (two-stringed tar in Persian), "seh-tar" (three-stringed tar), "chahar-tar" (four-stringed tar), "panj-tar" (five-stringed tar) and "shesh-tar" (six-stringed tar). Abdulgadir Maraghayi wrote about a six-stringed tar in his work entitled "Magasid-al-Alhan".

The tar is depicted in medieval paintings. In this respect, it would be relevant to mention the oil painting "A Girl Playing Tar", which was made by Abu Gasim Tabrizi in 1816.

Mirza Sadig Asad oghlu (Sadigjan) (1 846-1902) introduced changes in the structure and form of the tar. He also increased the number of strings from 5 to 1 1. Sadigjan changed the position of the instrument during performances; before, the tar was held on the knees. After the changes introduced by Sadigjan, the tar was held against the chest.

Tar, decorated with mother-of-pearl
The State Museum
of Azerbaijani
Musical Culture.
The 20th s.

The tar underwent intensive development during the 20th century. It was the leading instrument in the orchestra of national instruments created in 1931 by Uzeyir Hajibeyov and Muslim Magomayev. The score-based tar performance instituted by Hajibeyov increased the technical and artistic capabilities of the instrument.

The tar was and still is used as the main instrument in a mugham trio (tar, kamancha and gaval) and continues to play a significant role in the development of the mugham art today. Solo vocal parts in mugham operas are accompanied by the tar. A number of Azerbaijani composers have composed concertos for tar and orchestra.
The structure and form of the tar is different from that of other string instruments. The tar has three main parts: the body, neck and head. The body is made of mulberry wood, and the neck and head are made of walnut. Its total length is 850 mm. The body is 165 mm tall and 1 85 mm wide.

Bam tar
The State Museum
of Azerbaijani
Musical Culture.
Maker V.Farzaliyeva.

There are 22 frets fastened to the neck of the instrument. The body is covered with film made of a cow's heart (heart pleura). The instrument has 1 1 strings of various thicknesses. The instrument is played with the help of a plectrum made of ebonite or bone.

The tar has three kinds of strings:

1. White, yellow and root strings (each in a pair)
2. Root string (unary) (a single thick string that is used only in mughams)
3. Ring strings (jingana) (two pairs)

The tar is held horizontally against the chest. Its body is pushed against the performer's chest with the help of the right wrist. The neck is held in the left hand. The player holds the plectrum in the right hand and presses the frets with the fingers of the left hand.

The player plays trills and other ornaments (vibrato, glissando) with the help of a plectrum. One method is to strike the string with the plectrum and then press the instrument against the chest for a few seconds. This makes the sound vibrate for a certain period of time. The effect produced during such a pause is called a "khum".

Tar, decorated with carving
Maker - M.Kerimov.
Baku. 1987
Shiraz tar
Maker - R.Mammadov.
Baku. 1994
Cane-tar and cane-saz
The State Museum
of Azerbaijani
Musical Culture.
Maker - V.Zimov.1930

Scores for the tar are written in the mezzo-soprano clef of the "do" system. The sound scale of the tar is chromatic and covers two and a half octaves. The range of sounds is from the "do" of the small octave to the "sol" of the second octave. It is possible for the tar to reach "la" flat and "la" as well.


        © Musigi Dunyasi