If you need a break from the holiday music at the moment, maybe it is a good idea to listen to some music of a completely different culture.
I have collected some videos with an instrument that is used in Persia, Azerbaijan and Armenia – the tar. There are many more interesting videos, including some lessons on how to play the tar. You can use the youtube search links I have added at the end to find more!
In the Atlas of Plucked Instruments we can find the basic information about the tar:
The body of the Azeri tar has a double-bowl (figure-of-eight) shape, carved from one piece of mulberry wood. It lacks the slanting sides of the Iranian tar, and the top half is rounded. The front is a thin membrane of stretched bladder.
The neck is glued to the body (which has a strengthening stick through it) and a separate (quite large) square pegbox. The friction pegs (with big round knobs) are on both sides of the open pegbox. The frets are tied-on nylon (4 windings), with some in 1/4 note intervals (based on 17 intervals in an octave). These fret intervals differ from the Iranian tar.
Ramiz Guliyev – Tar
Ramiz Guliyev playing “Tar ” Azerbaijan’s national instrument
“Eshkhemet” – Sayat Nova by the virtuoso Tar-Player Rafik – Rafael Vardanyan Հայաստան
“Eshkhemet” – Sayat Nova by the virtuoso Tar-Player Rafik Rafael Vardanyan – prize winner of “Best Armenian Tar-Player” in Armenia.
Sahba Motallebi – Tar Improvisation
Sahba Motallei was born in 1978 in Tehran, Iran, and started playing traditional Persian music very early on. she is a graduate of Tehran Conservatory where she mastered playing Tar and Setar (traditional Persian instruments) under the instructions of master Fariborz Azizi.
She further enhanced her performance of the renowned capabilities by enjoying the direct guidance of the renowned master of traditional Persian music, Hossein alizadeh, and the respected music theoretician, Dr Mehran Rouhani. She continued her formal music studies in composition at St Petersburgh Conservatory, Russia. Sahba has recorded several CDs and composed numerous theatrical peaces. For more information on Sahba’s work please visit http://www.sahbamusic.com
Finally another solo on the tar played by Sahba Motallebi
Solo Tar – Sahba
Sahba Motallebi playing solo tar.
Atlas of Plucked Instruments: http://www.atlasofpluckedinstruments.com/middle_east.htm
Wikipedia about the lute tar: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tar_%28lute%29
More videos with Armenian tar: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=%22armenian+tar%22&aq=f
More videos with a persian tar: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=%22persian+tar%22&aq=f
Youtube channel of Sahba Motallebi: http://www.youtube.com/user/SahbaTV
Persian instruments / download free Persian music: http://www.santoori.com/download.html
The Tar School: http://www.tarschool.com/