Nowhere on earth are poems more appreciated than in Iranian culture, therefore, it's not shocking that the poetry-singing is an important part of Persian musical industry. Moreover, the culture of dancing and music are the main theme in Iranian poetry, especially for such an excellent music poets as Hāfez (14th century) and Rumi (13th century). Among Rumi's poems the musician or "motreb" is handled as a person who inspires passion or "tarab" and thus shows the essence of every prayer.
Songs and music are based on poems in different ways. Singers, when they get ready for a new song performance, pick rows from some poems in several poetic meters. Musicians have to set up an engaging continuity of musical tunes, rhythms, and forms to be able to dramatize switches from one poem to the next poem. Intriguing coherences along with glaring opposites in the themes and illustrations of the poems arise as the artists move from one mix of rhythm and music to some another.
For most performances of traditional music, pre-composed songs who have a constant rhythm in regular groups of four, three or two beats, similar to "measures" in American music, variable with transitions called āvāz (singing) + sāz (instrumental) where the vocalist evades a prospective rhythm while keeping the rhythms and meters of the poem. As the expressions āvāz and sāz appoint, one or more melodic instrument should improvise a repercussion (javāb) to all the singer's lines that also are improvised; for many people who listen to this music, those mutually helpful trades between instrumentalist and vocalist are the most participating instants of the performance.
Each poem's line has two contrasting halves with a certain order of short and long syllables. Artists use that supplementarity along with different rhythmic characteristics inherent inside the poems, including the submission of the same or similar vowels and consonants, and iterations of phrases, syntactic models, illustrations, and themes. At suitable moments, a vocalist can switch from āvāz and sāz to play a pre-created zarbi or tasnif.
These performing manners mix two approaches of measuring: the quantitative meter of the lines, and the typical grouping of the constant rhythm. Only this first form of meter is applicable in āvāz and sāz, and merely the second occurs within the instrumental bits which could start a performance: the pish-darāmad and the chahār mezrāb that is "four-rhythm measure". Zarbi got its name after the cup-shaped drum, termed tombak or zarb, which constantly accompanies the vocalist in a zarbi, might also accompany her in a chahār mezrāb, and it's suitable also in a tasnif.
After prelude with this instrumental pish darāmad or chahār mezrāb or even both, a performance goes on with some parts in which zarbi or tasnif follows after an āvāz and sāz. The rhythmic impulse of the estimated beats in zarbi and tasnif complies towards the singer's request that listeners pay attention more carefully to every syllable of the new composition as she starts a new part of āvāz and sāz. In these very introspective instants, we notice that instrumentalist and vocalist are actually improvising in repercussion to each other before the close intimacy of āvāz and sāz once again makes a bridge to the most outgoing sociability of the zarbi or tasnif.
Rumi's poems are perfectly suited to both approaches of experience. Most of Rumi's lyric poems were created after his experience in 1244 when he met Shams al-Din of Tabriz - the person who turned into his spiritual guide. Later Shams vanished in 1248, nevertheless, Rumi kept composing lyrics and his poetic work in the last decade of life concentrated on the Masnavi - the generation of more extensive didactic poetry. Rumi preferred easy poetic meters tagged by several repetitions of rhythmic pieces that create an impulse like a dance, and he might have created some of these poems while recalling or taking part in the ceremonial dances of the Sufi order he led.
The melodic forms of Persian/Iranian music are arranged in schemes called also "dastgāh", each with particular sections (named gushe) holding their own rhythmic and modal features. Starting in one dastgāh, a musician can move to a second, subsequently to a third, and so on, before going back to the point of beginning.
For her shows at Asia Society on June 12 and 11 in 2009, Parissa made a design that started in the "dastgāh" of Māhur, modulates further to Afshāri, then to Segāh, before going back again to Māhur. This composition adapted six different rounds of āvāz and sāz followed every time by zarbi or tasnif. For the āvāz and sāz, Parissa selected lines from 5 Rumi's poems, plus three rows from its Masnavi. Several lines from another six Rumi's ghazals were sung within the two zarbis and four tasnifs created for these musical programs by Iman Vaziri.