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Faculty of Music


Laudan Nooshin
Senior Lecturer, City University London

'Re-Imagining Musical Difference: Creative Process, Alterity and 'Improvisation' in Iranian Music from Classical to Jazz'

Since the late 1980s, an important strand of my research has sought to understand the underlying creative processes of Iranian classical music (musiqi-ye asil), a tradition in which the performer plays a central creative role and which is therefore often described as "improvised". However, analysis of performances shows the music to be highly structured around a series of what might be termed "compositional procedures", but which are not explicitly discussed by musicians. Through this work I came to problematise the dominant binary discourses which reify improvisation (bedāheh-navāzi) and emphasise the oral, ephemeral nature of Iranian classical music against something more planned and structured as represented by the concept of (usually implying notated) composition (āhang-sāzi).
More recently, I have been working with younger musicians - university-educated and cosmopolitan - who are developing new discursive frameworks for their creative practice, including an explicit articulation of compositional intent and an intellectual-analytical approach to performance which is quite new to Iranian music. Of particular interest are the ways in which these musicians are moving beyond oppositional discourses of creativity and re-imagining notions of musical difference.
This seminar will explore various issues arising from this work, including broader questions concerning musicological paradigms, particularly where these have been mobilised as a marker of "otherness".

Wednesday, 27 January, 2016 - 17:00 to 19:00
Event location: 
5.00pm, Recital Room at the Faculty of Music