Roozbeh Nafisi is a composer, improviser (on santur) and musicologist (in acoustics and ethnomusicology). He studied in Iran, California, Germany, Japan, Austria and Estonia, and holds distinctions such as Monbukagakusho research fund (Japan), Baden-Württemberg stipend (Germany), From the Top award (USA), Gustav Mahler prize and Federal Chancellery award (Austria). Since 2021 he is a lecturer at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna.
The Iranian Santur. The instrument and aspects of its social relevance with an emphasis on tuning
The santur is a representative instrument of the Iranian music. My dissertation studies this instrument and the aspects of its social relevance. This work is an interdisciplinary approach to santur between the fields of acoustics and ethnomusicology. An emphasis is made on tuning, through studying santur’s tuning systems and intervallic details. My aim is to understand the acoustics and social dimensions of the santur precisely. I examine various Iranian santur types and their communities, addressing these categories: tuning characteristics and specifications of the instruments, physical and social aspects of santur’s tuning preservations, and how tuning, sound and applications of santurs may vary from community to community. Research methods applied within the body of the fieldwork mainly include: physical measurements, interviews, listening tests, and gathering audio samples of tuning and frequency qualities. As this research views acoustics of the Iranian santur through perspectives of relevant communities, its outcomes could be used not only in the areas of acoustics, instrument making, music technology, composition, and music performance, but also in ethnomusicology and sociology.