Basic Structure

Radif is the basis of Iranian Traditional music.  This musical system or repertoire embodies the natural, cultural and spiritual values of Iran.  This music is known for its great improvisations and performances rather than compositions. The radif consist of seven modes or Dastgah, each with distinct intervals.  The radif is like a series of great books in that it has seven basic plots, each one called a “Dastgah”; the six sub-plots, called “Avazes”; and numerous chapters, called Goshes.  Each gosheh is characterized by a particular organization of thought and form of beauty. Understanding the essence of this rich musical repertoire enables the musician to utilize and synthesize melodies spontaneously.  However several years of persistence, patience and dedication is required to truly master the music.

The diagram illustrates the seven dastgah musical system and the corresponding avazes.  Dastgah Shour consists of five avazes each with distinct goshes.  Dastgah Homayoun  has only one avaz known as Esfahan.  For dastgah Shour, the list of different goshes in the radif of Mirza Abdollah is diagramed.