19 Facts About Barbad


Barbad appears frequently in later Persian literature, most famously in Ferdowsi's Shahnameh.

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Purportedly born in Merv or Jahrom, Barbad served most of his career under Khosrow, who held him in high regard.

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Barbad is traditionally credited with various inventions in Persian music theory and practice; however, the attributions remain tentative due to being ascribed centuries after his death.

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Barbad's work survived until at least the 10th century, inspiring musicians such as Ishaq al-Mawsili and being described as a "model of artistic achievement".

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Barbad remains a celebrated figure in modern-day Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan.

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Noldeke furthered that "Barbad" was a mistake in the interpretation of ambiguous Pahlavi characters.

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In later ancient Arabic and Persian sources Barbad is the most discussed Sasanian musician, though he is rarely included in writings dedicated solely to music.

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Tafazzoli postulated that the writers who recorded Jahrom were referencing a line of Ferdowsi's Shahnameh that says Barbad traveled from Jarom to the capital in Ctesiphon when Khosrow was murdered; the modern historian Mehrdad Kia records only Merv.

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Ferdowsi and al-Tha'alibi both relay a story that Barbad was a gifted young musician who sought a place as a court minstrel under Khosrow II but the jealous chief court minstrel Sarkash supposedly prevented this.

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When Khosrow walked by Barbad sang three songs with his lute: Dad-afrid, Peykar-e gord and Sabz dar sabz.

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Khosrow was immediately impressed and ordered that Barbad be appointed chief minstrel, a position known as the shah-i ramishgaran.

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The 9th-century geographer Ibn Khordadbeh's Kitab al-lahw wa-l-malahi records the opposite, stating that Barbad poisoned Sarkash but was spared from Khosrow's punishment by way of a "witty remark".

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The 9th-century scholar Ibn Qutaybah's 'Uyun al-Akhbar and the 10th-century poet Ibn Abd Rabbih's al-?Iqd al-Farid state that Barbad was killed by a different musician, variously recorded as Yost, Rabust, Rosk and Ziwest.

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Barbad was active as a poet-musician, lutenist, music theorist and composer.

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Single poem by Barbad survives, though in a quoted state from the Kitab al-lahw wa al-malahi by Ibn Khordadbeh.

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Barbad is traditionally regarded as the inventor of numerous aspects of Persian music theory and practice.

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Farhat notes that the exact reason for this is not known, though according to the 14th-century poet Hamdallah Mustawfi's Tarikh-i guzida, Barbad sang one of the 360 melodies each day for the Shahanshah.

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Barbad paid attention to the disposition of his listeners' souls, and then he would improvise words and a melody suited to the occasion and corresponding perfectly to each person's desire.

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Barbad's fame spread throughout the world, and [Khosrow] boasted about the fact that neither the kings of the past, nor those of his time, possessed such an artist.

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