Though Iranian music is known to be ancient, there is no evidence that even the oldest melodies extant go back any further than the Sassanid period (the last dynasty before the Muslim invasion). The tar, an exclusively Iranian instrument, is a modernization of the rabab, and in its present form dates to about 1880. In tone it is somewhat similar to the sitar, yet without the sitar's reverberating sustain. The nay, on the other hand, is known to have existed 5,000 years ago, and is the most widely used flute in the Middle East. Iranian music is by nature a solo form and these pieces have a meditative quality and gentle tone, in which the virtuosity of the musicians serves as a complement to the style, rather than as an aggressive display.
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AllMusic Review by Carl Hoyt