Finally I managed to create something I liked to do for ages, ended up somehow repetitive due to trying to fit a traditional Persian mode in a western style, but might be worth listening at for one time.
Shoor is a traditional Persian mode (modes are called Dastgaah in Persian), which is simply described like this:
F - G - A (quartertone lower) - B flat - C - D - E (quartertone lower) - F
So as you see this song contains quartertones which firstly might seem out-of-tune to those not acquainted to Eastern modes. The samples used in this song have a duplicate with a quartertone transpose down (nearly 64cents using finetune). The fact that the song is a bit repetitive is because it’s my first experience to express a Persian mode in a western style, so the chords and harmonies are a bit hard to manage.
Santur is an old Persian instrument, and this song starts with its sound, but it’s not an original sample, it is created digitally. Santur has 4 strings for each note (made of steel and copper for bass notes) which are hit by a wooden stick called ‘Mezrab’. The character of the sound of this instrument comes from two facts: you can never tune the 4 strings exactly the same, and ‘mezrab’ can not hit them exactly at the same time. having these facts in mind, I generated the sound of this instrument from a synth steel guitar sample. 4 instances were fine-tuned randomly, and then delay-column was used to simulate the mistimed hits. Track was rendered to sample and the result is what you hear in the song.
More info and samples of the sound of Santur can be found on wikipedia.
P.S. I appreciate the valuable help and support by Gilli.
I generally like the melody and the melting of tradition and innovation. the only thing I dislike in this song is the fast scale which closes the melody (for example at 0:44). It’s not because it’s a quarter tone one, but it seems just “thrown in” at the end, like if you were missing a closure.
I would like to listen to a more calm, psychedelic version of this song, by the way
at least it does not seem to fit into the rest of the melody, but maybe I should be an ancient persian in order to understand
seriously, I think that this song has some more potential as a psychedelic song rather than a fast dance one. You probably know that lots of psychedelic western bands have used eastern moods in order to get that psycho sounds, so you may beat them all since you are actually eastern
I like this, it’s refreshing to hear a melody with those quarter tones thrown in. I listen to traditional celtic music, where mixolydian modes are pretty common. Sounds odd at first, but you get used to it quickly.
Hm. No offense to anyone, but I think the song works well as it is. I like the way the bassline (which is pretty smoking!) works with the melody, and I think that the house/dance approach is what makes this interesting. It is not super-original but a whole lot more original than doing a psychedlia-inspired-by-Eastern-tonalities thing. The Beatles have done this. Many years ago. They were primarily inspired by Indian folk music and the whole Buddhist thing, I know, but still.
That said, I think there are things that could be done to improve the track, but changin the genre is not one of those things. What it needs is vocals. Sample snippets of traditional Persian singing (avoiding religious controversy if possible) and do things to the arrangement, and you’re on to a winner.
Thanks for your helpful comments Sam. Vocals could surely enhance the whole track, but I was afraid it would also make it more complex to the ears, because in traditional Persian music singing mode is a bit different than the mode for instruments and I wasn’t sure I can handle it properly in a house style. But samples of Persian vocals in the background can help, I agree. What changes to the arrangement do you think can improve the track?
edit: Btw, Persian vocals are rarely religious, they are mostly deeply philosophical, I think you meant Arabic vocals?