From the blog

Meet Dr. Masato Tani: Persian-speaking Japanese Santur Player

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We’ve had many discussions on Traditional Persian Music (TPM) with musicians like Hamed Nikpay, Koroush Taghavi, and others as to why this type of music is strange to some of us younger Iranian-Americans living here… This time we brought a different perspective straight from Japan. A Japanese musicologist who plays the Santur, specializes in TPM, has written a book on it, and gone as deep as researching the performers mental state while improvising Iranian music!

Dr. Masato Tani, a Farsi speaking professor of ethnomusicology at Kobe Gakuin University in Japan, joins us in a discussion about Iranian music and culture, where we talk about his experiences living in Iran as a student for 4 years, and what drew him into TPM and Santur.

Also joining us on the show is Roozbeh Nafisi, a Santur player with a unique and innovative style, who is now researching and studying ethnomusicology and composition on Santur in Tokyo, Japan. Yes, in Japan.

Here’s a video preview of Dr. Tani speaking in our show:

Dr. Tani’s Wikipedia Page:

More info about Dr. Tani’s book (English translation coming soon):

“Music of Iran: Vocal Culture and Improvisation.” Tōkyō: Seidosha, 2007. 254, 14 p. ISBN 9784791763542


  1. Dameton garm hamegi! After hearing the episode and seeing the video, it’s official: Dr. Masato Tani is the COOLEST guy in the world!!!

  2. This was a wonderful selection to share with us. Thank you so much for your efforts! By the way, I can’t help but notice Iman smiling so radiantly. I wonder how it felt to sit side-by-side with such an interesting person. The mere fact of seeing an Asian man speaking Farsi is beyond belief – I’m so glad that we’re all finally breaking the bonds of our borders and learning from each others’ cultures.

  3. Damn he speaks better farsi then me and I was born in Iran.Parents if you want to convince your kids to go to farsi school, show them this clip.

  4. درود بر شما. دکتر تانی رو الان بر حسب یادی ازش تو اینترنت پیدا کردم. من با ایشون هم دوره در کلاس استاد سعید ثابت بودم و گاه نقش مترجم رو بازی می کردم و خیلی از روزها رو با هم می گذروندیم. من از نزدیک شاهد سخت کوشیهاش بودم و همیشه به دیگران مثالش می زدم. او شش ماه به سختی در ژاپن کار می کرد و یک تا دو ماه به ایران می اومد. بسیار کم غذا می خورد و بسیار پشتکار نشون می داد و به طور فشرده پیش استاد آموزش می دید و او بسیار کمکش کرد. رنجی که او در این راه کشید ستودنیه و پتانسیل ساختن یه فیلم رو هم داره. در ابتدا سنتور هم نداشت! و می گفت در موزه ای در ژاپن سازی شبیه سنتور هست که اون رو اجاره می کنه و با اون تمرین می کنه. اولین بار با شنیدن قطعه ی پژواک استاد پایور به این موسیقی دلبسته و هیچ گاه شادمانیش رو در روزی که اولین سنتورش رو از ایران خریده بود و به ژاپن می برد یادم نمی ره. او انسانی با کمال و اندیشه و سزاواره.
    دکتر رضا گل محمدی

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