Voices from Beyond  |  A Collection of Iranian Music on Wax Cylinders


Iran as a multidimensional country is the home of different people with multicultural music and oral heritages. The so-called official music has been recognized by the rise of Radif attributed to Mirza Abdollah including the seven Dastgah and five related Avaz in the late of 19th century. However there are other musical cultures such as ethnic and ritual music beyond the official music. One can spot the significant lack of written resources and music materials concerning the study of these areas, particularly music materials.

During the same period after the invention of the phonograph recorder by Edison, and in the beginning of the 20th century, the wave of recording of music treasury flooded Middle East and India as well as the European countries. These phonographs are nowadays found in many places, however the archives available in Germany and Iran have one of the most valuable and oldest sound collections in the world, and are in possession of many phonographs of the recorded Iranian music such as Radif performances and ethnical music.

Hence, this project strives to discover, conserve, reconstruct and finally digitalize a series of the Iranian music collections on the wax cylinder records available in Germany and Iran over a period of three years in collaboration with the other specialists from this field. The study of these phonographs can contribute to filling the gaps in our knowledge of the history of Iranian music and thereby lead to the compilation of a possibly new history of music in Iran.

// Project Start: 01.05.2015
// Project Ending: 31.12.2016
// Project Manager: Dr. Soraya Adambakan

// Project Partners:

Ethnologisches Museum zu Berlin
Music Museum of Iran
Mahoor Institute of Culture & Art 
– Jam-e Mehr Documentary Film Production