This piece endeavours to explore the links between Iranian music and Renaissance Counterpoint. While such musical systems seem wildly divergent, they do in fact share a great deal of common ground. Both are musics concerned with the horizontal rather than the vertical, with melodic lines rather than harmonic progressions, and with the aesthetic and moral primacy of the voice. One key difference between these musics, however, is their tuning systems. While Renaissance counterpoint – at least in its contemporary performances – uses Equal Temperament, Iranian music makes use of a tuning system built on natural perfect fifths and which contains 17 notes in an octave. This piece makes use of both tuning systems side by side, encouraging the listener to directly confront the differences between these musical worlds.
The words in this piece are from a poem by Rahi Mo’ayeri (1909-1968) and are translated as follows:
I saw the moon, it reminded me of your beautiful face.
Mah Didam will be premièred at The Forge on 16th February.