What do we know about "pre-recitation" in month of Safar?

September 10, 2021 - 13:27

TEHRAN- The art of "pre-recitation" is one of the vocal and musical genres related to the days of mourning ceremonies of Third Infallible Imam of Household of Holy Prophet, Imam Hussein (AS), and Month of Safar, which unfortunately has become an obsolete art in recent years.

Full coverage of sounds and melodies associated with the days of mourning for the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (AS), in the passage of history certainly requires a thorough study, reflection of which in media reports is naturally limited to a reflection of a summary of this boundless ocean.

Although in these years, due to some distorted, unscientific, and mixed views by some eulogists and vocalists, some other types of music have been welcomed by the audience, for better or worse, it can demonstrate the power and greatness that this type of music due to the inspiration of the great and eternal epic of Ashura and genius and exemplary talent of Iranian artists.

What is presented to the readers in the series of reports of "Muharram songs as narrated by Mehr news agency” is only a part of the boundless ocean of Iranian music in the field of religious songs and melodies, part of which is based on the written observations and narrations of Jahangir Nasri Ashrafi, a veteran, and distinguished researcher and author. The well-known music of regions of Iran has been written in the audio and research collection "Religious Music of Shiites of Iran", which was published a few years ago by "Mahour" Publication under the management of Mr. Mohammad Mousavi, and is now available to the dear readers with the permission of the publisher.

"Pre-recitation", an endangered but very valuable art

In the fifth narration of this article, it has been tried to provide a brief explanation of the type of "pre-recitation" as one of the abandoned and obsolete songs of religion. This collection of tones and pieces used includes pieces of laments and recitations common in several cities of the country.

Mr. Jahangir Nasri Ashrafi has explained the concept of “Pre-recitation” explaining, "The pre-recitations were acquired directly from the common compositions of the line music by changing the text and lyrics, or the creative reciters created such songs based on the line compositions.

It should be noted that “Pre-recitation” has been obsolete for decades and is not used in current Taziyeh (Passion Play) recitations.

With a brief definition of pre-recitation, some related terms and lamentation, which will be discussed in more detail in the next reports of "Muharram songs as narrated by Mehr news agency ", he said, “Pre-Recitation is a vocal with a definite meter and a ballad that used to be performed on high roofs and sometimes on the rooftops in the back alleys and neighborhoods.”

These types of melodies are derived from common ballads and songs, and their poems are composed according to the themes of Taziyeh.

Conditions for performing "pre-reading" in Taziyeh ceremonies 

In the description of conditions for performing "pre-recitation", this distinguished researcher believes, “In the course of formation and evolution of Taziyeh (Passion Play), the interest in performing pre-recitations led to the emergence of new and numerous works. The pre-recitations differed in terms of how they were performed, where they were performed, performers, and their location.”

Therefore, this group of melodies was performed individually in some areas and as a group in other Taziyeh areas. The age conditions of performers also faced similar differences and sometimes immature girls participated in pre-recitation parties, he added.

The performance form of pre-recitation generally consists of two distinct forms, one type of pre-recitation was performed from the beginning to the end in the form of chorus and group chorus. Another group accompanied the reciter in the preferred verses or earrings of the poem and engaged in the vocal exchange.

It should be noted that pre-reciters whose text is related to the mourning or description of each of infallible Imams and/or Ahl al-Bayt are named after the mentioned reciters who performed the pre-recitation on these imams.

What concept does public pre-reading contain?

The text of some of the pre-recitations narrates the mourning month of Muharram, events of Karbala, and general themes related to the events and history of Imam and for this reason, they were known as public pre-recitations. It is worth mentioning that these types of recitations are used for all Taziyeh ceremonies.

Of course, unlike the recitations that were dedicated to the names of individuals or to a specific subject, they were used only in the same Taziyeh gatherings. For example, the pre-recitation of infallible Imam was used only in Taziyeh Gathering of the martyrdom of the Imam.

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