Jul 27, 2014, 5:04 PM
News Code: 2732554
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Veteran violinist

Tehran, July 27, IRNA -- Master Rahmatollah Hejazi, veteran violinist and violin teacher, has been teaching violin to trainees in one of the oldest music institutes of Tehran for the past 60 years.

The 80-year-old musician was born in Sangelaj district, Tehran, in 1934. His father, Shokrollah Hejazi, was a skilled tar player. His brother, Asadollah Hejazi, who was also a skilled tar player, passed away in March 2014.

Eminent poet Rahi Moayyeri was his father’s cousin and talented writer Mohammad Hejazi was his cousin.

Living in an art-oriented family, Hejazi was naturally inclined toward music. He loves the violin and spends most of his time teaching music.

Excerpts of Iran Daily’s interview with Hejazi follow:

IRAN DAILY: You were born in a family that played the tar. Why did you choose violin?

HEJAZI: My family members were musicians. My grandfather and grandmother played the tar.

My father was a remarkable tar player. He was the student of Haj Ali Akbar Shahnazi during the rule of the deposed Pahlavi king Reza Shah.

My father was famous and my brother was the last survivor of Shahnazi Music School.

I was not interested in playing tar. My father bought a violin when I was five years old and I played that instrument. I used to break the tuning pegs, tear the strings and my father used to repair them. I gradually got accustomed to violin.

Later, my father took me to the class of Master Habibollah Bahreinipour for learning violin.

How did you continue violin professionally and when did you decide to teach it?

When I was 23, I was introduced as a teacher to a person who ran a music institute at Delbekhah Street in Tehran. I purchased the institute two years later. Then I left there and went to another institute. I have been there since past 58 years.

I attended complementary training courses held by the National Music Conservatory and studied under violin masters Ali Tajvidi and Abolhassan Saba.

Do you also play other musical instruments?

My primary instrument is violin. It has classic and traditional branches. I am skilled in playing both Iranian and traditional styles. I am also acquainted with instruments such as santoor, tar, piano, daf and tonbak.

Tell us about the history of violin in Iran.

Europeans devised the violin based on the Iranian kamancheh. Later, viola, violoncello and double bass were made from violin. These instruments, which have bass voices, are larger than violin.

The first violins were imported from Italy and France. The notes were also invented in France.

Violin arrived in Iran in the form of notes in 1937. Colonel Alinaqi Vaziri was the first person who brought violin etudes to Iran. He served in the military and established military music during the rule of Reza Shah.

In fact, the first violin masters in Iran are indebted to Colonel Alinaqi Vaziri. He established the Academy of Music of Iran and trained many music masters.

What is the advantage of violin compared to other musical instruments? Why is it difficult to learn violin?

Violin is renowned as the king of musical instruments. It is the most complete instrument because the notes can be played in 13 positions, while the notes are played in three positions in santoor.

Since violin is kept under the chin and placing the fingers on the right spot is difficult, the beginners may face problems.

When was Iranian melody performed on violin and what was your role?

Iranian musicians transferred Iranian melodies from tar to violin. Although tar is an instrument played with plectrum and violin is a stringed instrument, their notes and melodies are similar in Iranian traditional music. However, they have different voices and figures.

I learned violin from masters of the old generation and then learned more scientifically from famous masters. I taught my trainees to read sheet music.

How do you evaluate the quality of training in music institutes?

Currently, skilled and educated persons have entered this field. Also, music institutes have been classified, which has had a positive impact on the quality of training music.

The claim of teaching music within two weeks or one month is false.

Every musical instrument is learnt in a certain time, which depends on the intelligence of the trainee.

For example, the preliminary course for taking violin lessons is at least six months. If a trainee seeks to learn how to play, he/she should undergo training for one year and the specialized violin courses take 20 years.

Specialized santoor training takes 12 years.

What’s your opinion about teaching music in schools? What are the benefits of music to children?

All preschool children learn their national music in Europe, because it increases their intelligence and concentration, and promotes patriotism.

We could increase the concentration of children in preschool level and elementary schools, because music is a kind of mathematics that opens the mind. It removes evil thinking, vice and violence from one’s soul.

Musicians, in light of their inherent nature, are seldom seen in police offices or judicial centers.

When a child undergoes music learning, he/she does not waste time due to difficulties of learning music.