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Collecting Persian Music

Courtesy of the MLA Resource Sharing and Collection Development Committee

Mr. Briliani and Mr. Bezhadi at Chang Publishing


This page contains information about Iran’s major music publishers and records producers.

By far the largest and most prestigious publisher of monographs and music scores and producer of music CDs and DVDs in Iran; with the exception of a handful of titles, their main focus is the traditional, folk and religious music of Iran; located in Tehran, Mahoor Institute has played a key role in the dissemination of the textual and audio/visual output of Persian music scholars, composers and musicians; Mahoor also publishes a scholarly peer-reviewed music journal in Persian; their bilingual (Persian and English) online catalogue is a valuable collection building tool; selectors can browse their catalogue by using the horizontal format bar situated on the top right-hand of the page (e.g. clicking on the CD category will allow for further genre refinements by using the vertical left-hand facet bar); Mahoor has a Facebook page where the institute's new releases are announced; as well, individuals can subscribe on their website to receive new-release email notifications; a number of Mahoor's sound recordings are now available on iTunes; In 2014, the UTL acquired Mahoor's entire catalogue; the UTL cataloguers are currently working on making this collection available to our users. 

Mahoor Institute published Simin Halali's A bibliography of music in Iran in 2007. The volume is an important research and selection tool. Laid out in sixteen chapters and several indices, it is the most current Persian music bibliography. Each chapter treats a different subject such as philosophy and aesthetic of music, history and criticism, biographies, instruments, etc.; chapters are further categorized by publication format or other subject terms (e.g. biographies are divided into composers, musicians, producers, etc.). The volume is in Persian only. 

Barbad Music

Producer and vendor of audio/visual materials; Barbad Music (Avay-e-Barbad) is itself a record label, but the company acts as a distributor for many other labels as well; they carry and distribute the Mahoor CD titles, so selectors must be cautious about potential duplications should they wish to purchase from both companies; Their website is in Persian only and can be searched by genre; track samples are available on their website or mobile app, which can be downloaded for free from the Apple App Store; Barbad Music's focus is different from Mahoor in that they also carry popular and fusion genres, so acquiring from them requires a closer attention to detail and collection building parameters.

There are many other publishers, big or small, independent or affiliated with educational institutions, which publish music scores and/or monographs. Covering them all is outside the scope of this guide. Working with established vendors could, to a reasonable extent, ensure the inclusion of the desired monographs. Acquiring music scores and audio/visual materials could be more difficult and requires other techniques, including purchasing trips.

Record producer focusing on classical (Persian and Western), fusion and popular music recorded in Iran; their bilingual (Persian and English) website contains their catalogue with track samples for each title; catalogue can be searched by release date, musician or ensemble; one interesting feature of their website is the Galleries section, which contains photo albums documenting the musical activities of several musicians and ensembles. Selectors can order directly from their website (PayPal account is needed).

Part is both a publisher of music monographs and an important distributor of other publishers' textual output. Having visited the Mahoor Institute, I then chose Part to purchased titles from lesser-known publishers I would not have had the possibility to visit in person.

Operated by Mr. Ali Bereliani, this is a small but important publisher of music scores and etude books. Careful selection is required as their focus is on both the Persian and Western classical music genres (e.g. they publish edited versions of etude books such as Wohlfhart and Dont violin exercises). Their website is bilingual (Persian and English) and contains a useful list of their publications.