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Iran to Revive Oldest Instrument

Thursday, November 1, 2007
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Persian Harp painted on a ceramic tile.

The United Nations has commissioned the restoration of an ancient string instrument, a Persian harp, in the Iranian city of Qazvin.

The Persian harp dates back six thousand years and is going to be restored after seven years of historical research. The instrument was first identified by a research team from Chicago University, while excavating an ancient hill in the southern province of Khouzestan, which bore the image of the world's oldest music orchestra.

The project will be finished by the year 2009, and the restored harp will be unveiled at the first International Civil Planning Olympiad in Persepolis.

The four-thousand-year-old “Song of the Creation” will also be performed during the Olympiad. This song, which was found on an ancient cuneiform plaque, has been transcribed into modern musical notation.

The harp (called 'Chang' in Persian) flourished in Persia in many forms since its introduction in about 3000 B.C.E. until the 17th century. The original version was an arched harp, which was replaced around 1900 B.C.E. by angular harps with vertical or horizontal sound boxes.

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