By Mohammad Rezai
The Wold Wide Web, because of its multimedia presentation capabilities, seems to be the best place to provide musical information to a wide audience. There have been a few companies and individuals who have used the web to do just that for Iranian music enthusiasts. Here are notable examples:
The best starting point for exploration is an article by Margaret Caton called Introduction to Traditional Iranian Dastgah Music. It is a short and sweet article that provides the basic ideas and a few examples of what is available in music stores.
An even a better insight can be found in Iranian Classical Music written by Tod McComb. He has done a great service to music lovers on the net by providing his critical reviews of many traditional Iranian music albums.
Kereshmeh Records probably offers the most informative site. They produce and distribute traditional Iranian music. Their site is also very professional-looking.
Kereshmeh has plenty of information about the albums, such as notes about basic concepts, musicians, instruments used and reviews. They also provide some audio samples in both AIFF and WAV formats.
It is pity that they have not included any samples in AU format since it is the most popular format amongst UNIX users.
Moreover the samples are quite short (20-40 seconds) and do not help the user to make a judgment about the music.
The other production company that offers its service through WWW is X DOT 25. Its home page is more imaginative and hip but slower due to the use of graphics.
This site provides very useful information about the music that the company has produced, including traditional Iranian, folk, jazz, pop and what they call fusion of these. The site also offer samples of songs in AIFF and WAV formats (no AU here either).
One more site offering Iranian music albums for sale is Arjang Arts & Graphics Co. Services. The site only provides a few lists of many albums in all genres of music, which are not even in alphabetical order. An intersting case of translation here is the use of Iranian country music for what is known as "koucheh bazaari" music in Iran.
There are two general-interest sites that also offer audio samples. The Iranian Cultural and Information Center has a nice selection of songs from various parts of Iran such as Azerbaijan, Farsi, Guilan and Kurdistan. Hopefully they will include some information about the songs they offer.
The Kurdish Information Network provides many songs in Kurdish (only in AU format; finally UNIX users are vindicated). Unfortunately, this site also does not have any information about the musicians and their whereabouts.
One late comer to the scene is The Iranian Music & MIDI Web which provides many old and popular Iranian songs in MIDI format. The "Ay Iran" song is called the old Iranian national anthem, maintaining a popular misbelief.