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Journal:   JOURNAL OF DERAMATIC ARTS AND MUSIC   fall 2017-winter 2018 , Volume 8 , Number 15 ; Page(s) 127 To 142.

Studying “ Parvane” Composed By Emanuel Melik_Aslaninan

Author(s):  Tafazzoli Mohammadreza, Ghanbari Hosein
The purpose of this paper is studying the main compositional elements such as harmony, form, and mode of the piece “ Parvane” (Butterfly) composed by the Iranian composer, Emanuel Melik-Aslanian. The main reason for choosing this piece is that the composer established a new musical language based on Iranian traditional modes (Dastgā h), in this case Chahā rgā h. Using a new method of harmonizing based on these modes, he achieved a new musical idiom which is different from previous pieces composed by Iranian composers. There is not enough information about Aslanian’ s works, and only few interviews can be found about his compositions. Thus, analytical studies about form, mode, and harmony of his works are imperative. The main question of this study is “ What are the main compositional elements in this piece. Especially in terms of harmonic techniques, what are the elements which deal with Iranian traditional modes? ” To this aim, we pursue our study in three steps. Owing to the prominent role of themes and form in analyzing a thematic piece, the first part of our study associates with formal and thematic features. The form of the piece can be described as compound ternary, ABA’ , which has an introduction part at the beginning alongside a coda. In the second step, the study focuses on modal features. Exploiting Iranian modes systems, based on well-tempered system, Aslanian has given an oriental atmosphere to this piece. It can be said that there is a relationship between these modes and harmony in this piece. Therefore, in the third step we try to find these relationships. In this part of the paper, we try to explore the composer’ s approach toward harmony. The structure of chords can be described mainly in quartal (and quintal) system, alongside some tertian harmonic constructions. It should be noted that theses tertian chords are different from those of traditional functional harmony. For instance, the composer has used tertian 7th chords with eliminated third, in second or third inversion positions, which are not commonplace in traditional harmony. Sometimes, triad and other chords concerning thirds can be classified as passing chords among quartal and quintal chords. Moreover, in some cases, the tertian chords’ relations are ambiguous, and using tertian harmony with added tones obscures the presence of tonality. Actually, Aslanin, by means of these approaches, avoided using traditional tonal harmony. On the other hand, as mentioned previously, there is a relationship between modes and the choice of chords in this piece. By using the modes’ structural tones, the chords mainly increase the presence of modality of Chahā rgā h and other related modes. As a case in point, the first chord of the piece consists of three notes (F#, G, C#), which are structurally important in F# Chahā rgā h. Using natural G, which differentiate between major mode and this mode, can also be demonstrated by using this chord. In the end, studying the elements in this piece, it can be understood how Aslanian has created this piece based on traditional Iranian modes and had a new approach toward harmony, at the same time.
Keyword(s): Quartal Harmony,Modes,Form,Modal Structure
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APA: Copy

Tafazzoli, M., & GHANBARI, H. (2018). Studying “ Parvane” Composed by Emanuel Melik_Aslaninan. JOURNAL OF DERAMATIC ARTS AND MUSIC, 8(15 ), 127-142.

Vancouver: Copy

Tafazzoli Mohammadreza, GHANBARI HOSEIN. Studying “ Parvane” Composed by Emanuel Melik_Aslaninan. JOURNAL OF DERAMATIC ARTS AND MUSIC. 2018 [cited 2022May22];8(15 ):127-142. Available from:

IEEE: Copy

Tafazzoli, M., GHANBARI, H., 2018. Studying “ Parvane” Composed by Emanuel Melik_Aslaninan. JOURNAL OF DERAMATIC ARTS AND MUSIC, [online] 8(15 ), pp.127-142. Available:

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