On April 18th and 19th we conducted the second Guitars of The World Workshop Series. We were lucky to have our teacher Afshin Ardalan sharing his knowledge and expertise on Persian music for guitar. Ardalan also taught us specific techniques and some of his repertoire for a small Persian chordophone called the Setar. This instrument belongs to the lute family and the name translates to “three strings” in Persian, although current versions use four strings.

During the workshop we learned Persian modes and the participants were given free room to improvise on scales, ornaments, rhythmical patterns, and strumming techniques. Persian scales use an augmented second and chromatic notes. The rhythmical patterns are often played in odd time signatures like 5/8 and 7/8. These are some of the reasons the Persian soundscape is so different from what many people are used to in western traditional music.

We had a great experience, and we have expanded our horizons in teaching and learning as well as meeting new interesting musicians.

Written by Bendik Kjørholt