Musical Instruments

Previously, we had no counterparts for international double-bass and bass instruments among our national instruments (Iranian instruments). Alongside me, these instruments have had the opportunity to be played on major stages, for their sound to be heard in hands of virtuoso musicians, for their capabilities to be witnessed and to emerge victorious through examinations. I advise that, even for once, you hold any instrument in your hands, play it and taste the sonority, so that you find how close it is to your musical gusto.

Illustrations & Motion graphics created for an exhibition of string instruments, which have been made by Legendary veteran vocalist Mohammadreza Shajarian. Presented at the Iranian Artists Forum (IAF) on September 13, 2013.

Instrumentalists are the ones to accredit an instrument. Every instrument, if held in hands of musicians in studios and on stages – so that they create memories for people through their art – after years will enjoy public appeal and achieve the stature of “national musical instrument”. Otherwise it is doomed to be forgotten in storage and archives. Our national and folklore musical instruments were not bestowed from heavens to the earth; Someone had made them initially, who undoubtedly did not possess such amount of samples and experience in crafting instruments. He had “a love” to make a piece of equipment, which could produce a pleasant sound. Every instrument that was crafted in the old times definitely did not have the shape, composition and quality it holds nowadays. It is through time that each instrumentalist has left comments to improve the sound and convenience of tuning the instrument and they have modified it so that the instruments have found their quality of today. It is incumbent upon us to build and give no way to fear; and it falls to you to behold the bringer of love through the positive eye, so that we can be a culture-creating nation.

ShahrAashoob” family, that is alike violin family, consists of instruments in four different sizes; in ascending order the are as follows: soprano, alto, bass and double-bass.

The bass instrument is named “Shahnavaaz” and the double-bass, “Shahbaang”. The front plate is entirely of goat or lamb skin and the body is made of different types of wood such as: walnut, mulberry, ash and maple. These instruments offer the functionality of violin family with eastern musical color. Furthermore, playing the Shahbaang and Shahnavaaz is more convenient and in comparison to cello and contrabass, they weigh less and are smaller in dimensions, therefore, they can be moved with less difficulties in transports and travels.

The soprano and alto instruments can be played alike “Kamancheh”. In addition, via changing the skin, bridge or the soundboard beneath the bridge in each of these four instruments, you will be able to modify their musical color according to your taste. A feature that is not offered by violin family.



Del-o-Del” , is an instrument with eastern sonority and also baroque musical color and character. It can be considered violin’s counterpart, compared to which, it is lighter and smaller. American and European virtuosos have dubbed it “Persian Violin”.

It has been designed and crafted in two types so far, soprano and alto. Since the two other members of this family had not been designed, for bass and double-bass tones harmonious with Del-o-Del, two instruments of “ShahrAashoob” family, “Shahnavaaz” and “Shahbaang” were employed in “Innovative Instruments Orchestra”.

The noteworthy point about Del-o-Del and other innovative instruments in the crafting of which, skin has been used as part of the resonance bowl, is the fact that each time the skin is changed their musical color will slightly differ.

Consequently, musicians can apply their desired type of skin in order to produce a more melodious and euphonious tone of their choice.

Baarbad” is a double-character instrument. In nine-string mode, a set of strings will be used so that Oud (Lute) players can easily play it. And When used as a six-string instrument, different types of Guitar and Banjo string sets will provide it with the best quality. Furthermore, this instrument presents its own particular sonority, since the plate under its bridge is made of skin and the back plate can either be made of skin or wood upon the instrumentalist’s taste.

Playing the Baarbad is very convenient as it doesn’t have a bowl (belly) as big as Oud (Lute); In addition, the harmonies will be highly lucid and sonorous, regardless of the technique and method employed in playing. It can be easily tuned, because modern hydraulic pegs have been utilized.

Baarbad’s musical color and sound character slightly differs by changing the skin, and by choosing a thinner or thicker type of skin you can produce a more melodious sound that you desire. However, it should reminded that the function of skin, wood, metal and rubber (caoutchouc), etc. used in soundboard beneath the bridge, is contrariwise to the strings, videlicet, the thinner they become, the more low-pitched sounds, and the thicker they become, the more high-pitched sounds they will deliver.



Kereshmeh is a new instrument designed by the Iranian musician and vocalist M.R. Shajarian. Kereshmeh is a member of the lute family with 7 main strings and 10 sympathetic ones. The sound box consists of 2 parts one of which is covered  by lambskin. As the bridge has rested on the skin, the sound timbre of the instrument is greatly influenced by its thickness and quality.


Sorahi is a new Iranian musical instrument, a member of the family of Bowing string instruments, developed by the Iranian musician M. R. Shajarian. This string instrument can cover the sound range produced by soprano, alto, bass and contra bass instruments.

Tondar (Bass Santoor)

Tondar is a new instrument developed by the Iranian musician and vocalist M.R. Shajarian.Tond ar can be considered as a member of zitter family of instrument specially imilar to santur in persian music.
It covers about 4.5 octaves which grants the player a choice of much lower frequencies than santur. such a wide range of frequency is unique among all of its Persian precursors.


Saboo is a novel bowed string  instrument developed by the Iranian musician and vocalist M.R. Shajarian.The soundboard of the instrument is covered by a skin against  which rest the bridge. Having 4 strings,Sabu can cover a sound range near to Violin. The instrument can be played in 2 manners:holding under the chain -like a Violin-or resting between the knees while the player has seated in a chair.


Saghar is a new instrument from the lute family designed and made by the Iranian musician and vocalist M.R. Shajarian in 2008. Saghar sound box is carved from mulberry wood and the top surface of it has partly covered by 3 pieces of thin membrane. The bridge is rested on one of them and the two others help the sound wave diffusion.similar to Tar, Saghar  has 3 double courses of strings each pair tuned in octave and the pairs tuned in fourths, so it covers a sound range of about 2 and 1-half octaves.






  • NIRT Golden Cup (1977)
  • Golden Picasso Medal (1999)
  • Nominated for Grammy award in Best World Music (2004, 2006)
  • Nushin Medal (2008)
  • The UNESCO Mozart Medal (2006)
  • One of NPR’s 50 great voices.(2010)
  • French National Order of the Legion of Honour (2014)
  • National Order of Merit (2014)
  • Aga Khan Trust for Culture (2019)
  • Raast-Panjgaah concert with Mohammad Reza Lotfi in Raast-panjgaah (1976).
  • Chehre be Chehre with Mohammad Reza Lotfi in Navaa (1977).
  • Golbang-e Shajarian, Part 1 (Bot-e Chin) features: Ali Akbar Sheida (Ballads), Fereydun Shahbazian](Composer), Faramarz Payvar (Santur), Hushang Zarif (Tar).
  • Part 2 (Dowlat-e Eshq) features Hassan Yusefzamani (Composer), Ahmad Ebadi (Setar), AliAsghar Bahari (Kamancheh). Poetry by Hafez, Saadi and Baba Taher (1977).
  • Eshgh Daanad with Mohammad Reza Lotfi in Aboo Ataa (1981).
  • Aastaan e Jaanaan with Parviz Meshkatian and Naaser Farhangfar in Bayaat e Zand (Turk) & Sur (1982).
  • Peyvande Mehr (album) with Farhang Sharif (1984).
  • Bidaad with Parviz Meshkatian and the Aref Ensemble in Homaayoun (1985).
  • Be yaad e Aaref with Mohammad Reza Lotfi in Bayaat e Turk (1986).
  • Nava – Morakkab Khani with Parviz Meshkatian and the Aref Ensemble in Navaa, Se-gaah and Dashti (1986).
  • Doud-e-Oud with Parviz Meshkatian and the Tehran Symphony Orchestra in Navaa (1987).
  • Dastan with Parviz Meshkatian and the Aref Ensemble in Chahaar-Gah (1987).
  • Dastgah Chahargah (live version of Dastan) concert with Parviz Meshkatian and the Aref Ensemble recorded live in Bonn (1987).
  • Ghasedak with Parviz Meshkatian and Homayoun Shajarian (1994).
  • Dar Khiaal with Majid Derakhshani in Segaah & Bayaat e Zand (Turk) (1995).
  • Zemestaan Ast with Hossein Alizadeh and Keyhan Kalhor in Maahoor and Homaayoun (1999).
  • Night, Silence, Desert (Persian: Shab, Sokoot, Kavir) with Keyhan Kalhor based on the folk music of Khorasan. Traditional Crossroads (2000).
  • Bi To Be Sar Nemishavad with the Masters of Persian Music Ensemble in Navaa and Bayaat e Kord (2002).
  • Faryaad with the Masters of Persian Music Ensemble in Raast-panjgaah (2003).
  • Devoid Grail with Fereydoun Shahbazian in Mahour and Dashti (2004).
  • Serr-e-Eshgh with Parviz Meshkatian and Mohammad Mousavi in Maahoor.
  • Sepideh Album with Mohammad Reza Lotfi and Sheyda Ensemble in Maahoor.
  • Cheshmeye Noush with Mohammad Reza Lotfi and Majid Khaladj in Raast-panjgaah.
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