TAR (ARMENIA)

by HAJI MAJI

Tar is the Persian word for “string”, and is the root of many instrument names (guitar, sitar, dotar, etc.) The instrument called tar is used widely throughout Iran, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Afghanistan. It seems to have originated in the region of southwestern Azerbaijan and eastern Armenia. Considered the “sultan of instruments” by Persians, it holds a prime position in radif, Persian classical music. During the 19th Century, a variation of the Persian tar was developed in Azerbaijan with a slightly different shape and additional strings.

George Shah-Baronian was an Iranian of Armenian origin. During the 1920s, he recorded in New York for the Pharos and Sohag labels. At some point, he seems to have relocated to Los Angeles where he performed and recorded this record at the famous  “Radio Recorders” studio in Hollywood, where many greats recorded, including Elvis. If anyone can fill in the details on Shah Baronian please leave a comment (paging Ian Nagoski!).

Unfortunately, this record has a small chip at the edge, so we miss the introduction to this otherwise excellent tar solo.

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