In this post you will hear Avaz-e Dashti, the haunting sound of the desert. Dasht means desert in Farsi. It is a soulful longing that is heard in Dashti. It is the howling winds, and the endless quiet of the desert. All these sounds can be heard in Dashti.
Until now, we have been analysing the different sub-dastgah of Shur in a very detailed theoretical way. But this time, I want to explore an emotional, aesthetic, artistic, or intuitive way of approaching music. So I am not going to do much analysing other than telling you what scale and what notes are being played. I am doing this because Afshari, Dashti, and Avaz-e Kord (I haven’t dealt with Kord yet) are very similar. They pause and play with the same notes. And when performed by masters of Persian music they often move through these sub-dastgah sequentially depending on use of poetry, mood, and whim.
Listen to the Best Examples!
We are first going to listen to samples of Dashti on Oud and by various famous singers. I am going to use Shajarian because he is undisputed master of Persian singing.
Avaz-e Dashti on Oud
Here is an impromptu improvisation in Dashti on the Oud. The first is non-rhythmical. This is what we call “Tak-navazi”, or solo, The first syllable in the word is related to the Arabic word “Taqsim”, which means to divide. The second recording is a rhythmical improvisation. In Persian music, one of the important aspects of mastering Persian music is the skill to improvise “on the beat” so to speak.
I play from “D” following the root of Bayati , (D Eqb F G). Dashti makes use of the 5th note in the scale, which is “A”. Here’s a clue to understanding Dashti, listen for the variable flattened 5th note. Also, listen for when the scale is ascending. We call this “Owj”, which means “Top”.
If you need more help in understanding how Dashti works, please leave a comment below and I will do my best to help you.
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Photo Credit: A – Babayan