Ramin Akhavijou - String Quartet No.2


First of all, I should mention that the recording is included three movements, but please consider the first movement as a recording audio (because it is beyond 10 min). This piece is based on Iranian folk theme in the scope of modern contemporary music. There are many reasons that I write this piece for string quartet. The first reason is to show the variety of Iranian music in different layers simultaneously. Next, to show the importance of melody lines in Iranian music because there is no western-based harmony in Iranian music and it is based on just melody layers which is similar to counterpoint in classical music. Also, the length of Iranian music is large which contains solo, unison accompaniment, different movement, etc. therefore, I packed all these into a short piece. In addition, the strings are the best instrument to demonstrate microtonal tones clearly. In terms of form, I started the piece with different melody layers and finally ended up with unison texture.

Tuning information:

This is Iranian folk scale which has microtonal quarter interval which is called "sori" and "koron". The Iranian music is mostly based on a tetra-chord which is included 4 notes. In the beginning of the piece, I have used F, G, A koron , B flat. A koron is a quarter tone lower than A flat. I also used this scale in other spots of music in a transformed form but in different functionality. One of the features of Iranian music is changing the scale based on the functionality of notes. For example, I have used F, G, A koron, B flat at the beginning, but in the continuous it is changed to F, G, A flat, B based on the Iranian music form. And I have used the same quarter intervals in other spots which are C, D, E koron, F sharp. Due to style of Iranian music, It is hard to define a specific scale by your suggested software (scala), but if I want to simplify the scale into four notes, I can define it as F, G, A koron (a quarter lower than A flat), and B flat.

Composer bio:

Iran-born composer Ramin Akhavijou is a graduate composition student of Carnegie Mellon University where he is currently focusing on microtonal and electronic sounds. The dialectic interrelation between sounds has always been one of the main concerns and motives for his compositions and research works, according to which he is investigating, scientifically, the sound of nature in an interdisciplinary project in order to translate some non-musical elements into music. He has received some awards for his compositions, including the Iranian Music Association Prize (Tehran, Iran, 2013), ACIMC Award (Paris, France, 2014), IMHM prize (London, England, 2014), Iranian Music Association Prize (Tehran, Iran, 2015), ConTempora Award, Association of Macedonia (Skopje, Macedonia, 2015), Orient/Occident Award (Lviv, Ukraine, 2015), ABLAZE Records Award (Cincinnati, USA, 2016), Bruno Maderna Award (Lviv, Ukraine, 2016), NAT28 (Pittsburgh, USA, 2017), WZO commission (Toronto, Canada, 2017), Kamraton commission (Pittsburgh)