23 Facts About Barbad


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


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


Barbad interacted closely and rivaled with other musicians of his time, such as Sarkash.


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.


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".


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


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


Musicians in Khosrow's service include Azadvar-e Changi, Bamshad, the harpist Nagisa, Ramtin, Sarkash and Barbad, who was by-far the most famous.


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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".


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


The text is found in a group of Manichaean manuscripts in Turpan, Xinjiang, China and is written in Middle Persian, which Barbad would have used.


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


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.


Such was Barbad, who lived during the time of [Khosrow II].


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.


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.


The preponderance and frequent transmission of stories involving Barbad attest to his popularity long after his death.


In modern-day Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, Barbad continues to be a celebrated figure.