The following characteristics
are shared between Iranian and other Central Asian music:
The music is mainly
monophonic, with each instrument in an ensemble following one melodic
is based upon a modal system; with each mode engenderring different
melodic types, called gushehs in Farsi. The execution of
the melodic types are left up to the musician.
The use of
microtones divides the scales into more than twelve semi-tones.
is given to ornamentation.
a number of substantial pauses in each piece.
are characteristics which distinguish Persian music from other Central
Melodies are concentrated
on a relatively narrow register.
Melodic movement occurs by conjunct steps.
Emphasis is on cadence, symmetry, and motivic repetition at different
Rhythmic patterns are kept simple.
The tempo is often rapid, and the ornamentation is dense.
Vocal parts are often decorated with Tahrir, a vocal ornamentation
similar to yodeling.
Also, Iranian music is unique in the Middle Eastern tradition in that
the different melodic phrases, or gushes are supposed to
model the rhythmic stamp and melodic pattern of poetry.