The composition of music and poem has leaded both of them to poetical growth and deep thinking. Sasanid civilization had penetrated in to the pillars of the society in Abbasid period, and music found an important place as one of the symbols of Sasanid civilization. Poets in Abbasid period have created lovely images by musical instruments. In this way, Abu Nawas was a poet who showed his power in creating poetical images by musical instruments. He was able to mix music with human feeling. He knew music as a doleful tune and delightful melody which rises up of the soul of musician, it did not come from a strict string, or a lifeless wood (stick). In his poems, he mentioned some of the instruments; Lute and Flute and Harp, Tambourine and Tanbur and Mizmar were the most important among them.
Keywords: Iranian Music, Abu Nawas, Sasanian Period.
Music of Sassanid and Abbasid era: The history of musical performance in Sassanid Iran is, however, better documented than earlier periods. This is specially more evident in the context of Zoroastrian ritual. By the time of Xusro Parviz, the Sassanid royal court was the host of prominent musicians. In general, the period of Xosro Parviz reign is regarded as an “golden age of Iranian music” and himself is shown in a large relief at Taq-e Bostan among his musicians and himself holding bow and arrows and while standing in a boat amidst a group of harpists. The relief depicts two boats and the whole picture shows these boats at “two successive moments within the same panel”.
The musical instruments which appeared distinctly on the Sassanid sculptures were the harp, the horn, the Daf, the drum and the flute or pipe. The harp is triangular, and has seven strings; it is held in the lap, and played apparently by both hands. The drum is of small size. The horns and pipes are too crudely represented for their exact character to be apparent. Concerted pieces seem to have been sometimes played by harpers only, of whom as many as ten or twelve joined in the execution. Mixed bands were more numerous. In one instance the number of performers amounts to twenty−six, of whom seven play the harp, an equal number the flute or pipe, three the horn, one the drum, while eight are too slightly rendered for their instruments to be recognized. A portion of the musicians occupy an elevated orchestra, to which there is access by a flight of steps. Music is one of the most important factors in the Sassanian Persian civilization. Unfortunately, there is no note left from that period about their melodies. Thus, we are not able to become familiar with the theory of music in these periods.
Abu Nawas, an innovative poet: Innovative poets in the beginning of Abbasid era changed the contents of Arabic poetry. It is exclamatory that the leadership of this innovativeness belongs to Iranians. Bashaar, Abu Ataaie, Abu Nawas are the initiators of evolution in Abbasid poetry and they are called as the modernists of Abbasid Period.
Musical instruments in the poems of Abu Nawas: The names of musical instruments in Abu Nawas’ poets are mixed with his poetic emotions. For Abu Nawas, these instruments are not a set of strings or woods to be mentioned in the poem, rather he connects his emotions with these instruments. He vitalizes them. He perceives them their sound as human emotions as he blows in them or plays them weather in mood of euphoria or illness.
Lute and Flute: Lute is also called Barbat. It is an old instrument which is called Mezmer by Arabs and it is considered the best and the most joyful instrument. It is said that: they asked Lute, “is there any instrument better than you?” It answered “No”, while he bent his head to the back and stayed that way.
Harp and Daf: Literary, harp means paw and it is the name of a popular instrument or the name of anything which is bent. Harp is made by zinc. Hitting two of them together makes it sing. In Hindi they call it Jahanche. In Persian, Daf is the name of a popular instrument. In Arabic it is called Dof. Daf has a circular shape and it is made by wood, covered by animal skin. In some of its parts, rings are attached to it and this instrument is very precious for Dervishes.
Tanbur: Tanbur is a Persian musical instrument which has entered into Arabs culture. Originally this instrument was called Danbare in the beginning. Its bowl and surface was smaller than the bowl and surface of Shervanian Tanbur and it surface was flat and smooth.
Mizmar: It is said that Mizmar is a reed or it is lute and also it has been referred to as Barbat. It has been called Mezmar by concise which means Trachea. Mazaamir are burnt reeds. Paluarr form of Mizmar means Trachea and in Arabic, it means the puluarar form of singers’ instruments.
Last words: Abu Nawas, a modernist poet of Abbasid period, is an Arab poet (originally Persian) who has created new and beautiful concepts and images based on the culture and civilization of Sasani. This concepts and images include Iranian instruments and melodies of Sasanid period. Reed, Lute, Harp, Daf, Tanbur, Mizmar are mentioned in Abu Nawas’ poetry. Among this instruments, Reed and Lute are two mostly been mentioned together. An important point to mention about these instruments is their vitalization by the poet. These instrument are not only names to be used to describe the event or report the lifestyle of that period, they have been used as symbols to show us the joy of living, by imagination and vitalization of the instruments. Abu Nawas’ proficiency in Arabic language, his knowledge of Iranian culture and Sasanid music, enabled him to create new images and meanings and granted him a special place in Abbasid period.