tar is the best and perfect modern musical instrument among stringed musical instruments of Azerbaijan in respect of technical and dynamic abilities.
The great composer Uzeyir Hajibeyov referring to technical performance capabilities, the nature of acoustic of tar writes: “Tar is most valuable and most important among musical instruments which enhance the musical education of the east.”5
The name of tar is met in works of our c classics like Gatran Tabrizi, Nizami, Mohammed Fizuli and others.
The description of tar can be found in the works of medieval art. The oil painting of Abu Qasim Tabrizi in 1816 «Tar player girl’ is interesting in this respect. Mirza Sadiq Assad oglu (Sadıqjan; 1846-1902) had made modifications in the second half of the nineteenth century in structure and form of tar and increased the number of strings from 5 to 11. However, he made changes in rule of keeping of the tar and raised tar from knee to breast level.5
The modern tar performance began the stage of strong development in the twentieth century. Thus, in 1931, in the Orchestra of Folklore Musical Instruments with first note created at the initiative of M. Magomayev and U. Hajibayov tar occupied a position of leading instrument. The school note performance founded by U. Hajibeyov had increased the technical and artistic possibilities of tar.
Tar was used mainly in the structure of the Mugham trio (tar, kamancha, tambourine) as a lead instrument and plays a significant role in the development of mugam art today. In mugam operas solo singing is performed by the accompaniment of tar. Azerbaijani composers wrote many large concerts with the tar and the orchestra.
Differing from other stringed instruments in respect of structure and form, tar consists of three parts - body, arm and head. Body of tar is made of mulberry, arm and head are made of walnut wood. The total length is 850 mm, body’s height is 165 mm, a width is 185 mm.
22 curtains are fixed on arm. The layer of cow’s heart is covered on body. There are 11 metal strings of different diameter. It is sounded with small mizrab made of bone or ebonite made sma ll mizrab . Strings are divided into three groups:
1. White, yellow, and the tune strings (there is a pair of each). 2. The tune string (a single thick string is only performed with mugham). 3. Call strings (jingana- is of two pairs).
Tar is kept in breast horizontally, with the right-hand wrest the body par is pressed in breast, strings are sounded with mizrab kept between the thumb and the forefinger. The arm of tar is pressed between thumb and forefinger, strings sounded by the right hand are played with pressing of various curtains of forefinger, middle and ring finger.
To provide technical and artistic possibilities of during playing, trel and various mizrab beating methods, codes are used. In addition to upper mizrab, lower-mizrab, upper-lower-mizrab, lower-upper-mizrab, rukh (right-left) mizrab, santur-mizrab (top-down-top) and other codes, the dumb finger (vibration) , scrolling, slipping finger (qlissando) and methods are also used. Artist beats with mizrab in string and by pressing tar in breast makes sound waved for a long time. The effect occurred during a break is called “khum”. Notes for tar are written in “do” system mezzo-soprano key. Sound structure of tar is chromatic, and covers 2.5 octave. Its diapason is from small octave’s “do” to the second octave’s “sol” sound.