Music Museum of Iran

Music Museum of Iran: Securing original audio tapes
Federal Foreign Office, Nov. 2021 to June 2022

The project "Music Museum of Iran - Securing Original Audio Tapes", funded by the Federal Foreign Office (November 2021 to June 2022), indexes and secures audio carriers documenting Iranian musical practices from various eras. It complements a previous project (funded by the Federal Foreign Office in 2012-2016) in which the digitisation infrastructure of the Music Museum of Iran (MMI) was expanded. The project is coordinated by Dr Keivan Aghamoseni and Christoph Hölzel.

Music and cultural preservation in the sense of the UNESCO Convention "Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage" enjoy a low status in Iran on the part of the state or are sometimes politically undesirable. Although the above-mentioned UNESCO convention was signed by the Iranian parliament in 2009, systematic conservation efforts with regard to musical practices and traditions have not been made. The Music Museum of Iran is active in this sector within a professional framework and now has a solid data infrastructure for the medium and long-term preservation of sound documents. In a further step, the museum will now be enabled to digitise extensive tape collections. Among these objects are unique original recordings.

In the previous funding period, shellac record holdings as well as 45 RPM record holdings were systematically digitised and entered into a data infrastructure. Resulting research data was made available to the Common Library Network (GBV) in a sustainable manner and accessible to a specialist audience. In this research project, the infrastructure created is to be further used and expanded. So far, 3689 digitised shellac records and 8306 digitised vinyl records (7") are available, as well as 8,000 dubbed music cassettes and approximately 2,000 digitised video cassettes. A total of 5,000 audio tapes are available, of which 3,200 were digitised 13 years ago and need to be checked and, if necessary, renewed.

The three main collections come from the collectors Golshan Ebrahimi, Ahmad Reza Ahmadi and Mohammad Taqi Massoudieh, the first of which has already been digitised and catalogued in Farsi. It comprises radio and television broadcasts from the 1950s to the 1980s; including both musical and political-social broadcasts. It is considered a documentation of the social life of Iranian society of the period, examples of which are the recording of the first broadcast on Iranian radio when in 1979 the revolutionaries occupied the state radio and announced the victory of the revolution, all musical radio broadcasts (e.g. recordings of the popular radio programme Golha) and private recordings of renowned musicians.

he content of Mohammad Taqi Massoudieh's collection consists of his field research or field recordings in the various regions of Iran in the 1960s and 1970s. Many musical traditions from the northeast (Khorasan), southeast (Baluchestan), northwest (the Iranian region of Azerbaijan), and southwest of Iran (Bushehr), are recorded on the tapes. In addition, this collection includes some recordings of North African, Turkish and Central Asian music. Part of this collection was made during field research with Prof. Josef Kuckertz of the University of Cologne in 1972 in Tehran. Ahmad Reza Ahmadi's collection consists of interviews with important artists of the 1980s; they are documents of an orally transmitted history of music.

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