(Persia digest)- Fakhreddin Haghighi has been playing music for three decades. He plays three Iranian string instruments, namely the tanbur, setar, and tar. He has a small stand at the National Handicrafts Exhibition in Tehran, filled with instruments that attract the crowds. We talked to him about making these instruments and their national and international markets.


-How long have you played the tanbur?

-Thirty years.

-How does the market fair for musical instruments?

-Realistically, it’s not good. People don’t feel a great need to own a musical instrument. I believe the main reason for this lack of interest is that it is never shown on national media, such as the television. People don’t really get to know Iranian instruments. These are not officially given any value.


-Iranian musical instruments are all made of wood. Trees have been the manifestation of God in different religions. As we have in the Koran, God manifests in the tree and speaks through it with Moses. Music is food for the soul, yet it’s not valued here. Our traditional instruments, say the tanbur, are our identity with a history of more than 500 years. It is a very original musical instrument which is sadly more valued abroad than it is at home. This is a huge shortcoming for us. There is a tanbur made of stone which dates back to nearly 5000 years ago. With such a long history, merit must be given to music and the art of making instruments.

-How does the Handicrafts Organization promote your art?

-The Organization is interested in this art. Staging this fair especially brought the instruments out in the public eye. People got to know them and this is a good way of strengthening this old hand art.

-What would you suggest for improving the market for your art?

-There are very few people who are drawn to this hand art these days; because they know there isn’t a good market for it and it’s a labor of love. Our young people no longer get involved. Many of them like playing music and love instruments; but, considering the problems, they prefer to stay out of it.

-What do you think would be a good way of culture making for music and making musical instruments?

-I believe that the television is a good medium for culture making in this field. It’s a national medium that everyone watches. It is enough to do a little reading on the subject of music history in Iran. The tar, setar, and tanbur are precious instruments that have something to say. We must not ignore this old culture

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