Iranian Setâr

Cyrus Shahidi

Orient | Instruments & repertories

Traditional Iranian music represents one of the oldest musical forms in the world and its richness stems from a spirituality that is deeply anchored in the Iranian soul. 

The setar is an Iranian musical instrument of Persian origin and it is a member of the long-necked lute family. It is a direct descendant of the tanbur. While setar means 'three strings' in Persian, it has four. Derviche Mochtarq-Ali-Shah added a fourth in the eighteenth century. The instrument consists of a rounded resonance chamber with a 14-16cm diameter. The body is generally made of mulberry wood, while its neck ( usually 2.5cm wide and 40-50cm long) is made of wood from a fruit tree and has 25-27 frets. The instrument is played with the nail of the index finger. As a melodic instrument, the setar has a range of around three octaves. This instrument was made to perform Iranian classical music, the radif in particular, in an intimate or meditative setting.

The major elements covered during class will be:
The basic principals of the notes
The positioning of fingers and the playing of simple pieces
Polishing technique and learning the Iranian repertoire


He was born in 1975 in Teheran, Iran. In 1989, Cyrus began studying the setar at the 'Mazandaran cultural house' under Ali Yadollāhi and Fariborz Azizi. Following on from this he learnt with the great Iranian masters such as Dariush Talāi, Massoud Shaāri et Hossein Alizādeh.
He has given several concerts in France, Spain and Switzerland as solo performer and as part of an orchestra with such ensembles as Tchakāvak and Sépandār. He has also composed several sound tracks for short films and documentaries. Since 1998, he has given private setar lessons.
Cyrus is also a trained dental specialist.

Rue du Midi 6
1003 Lausanne

On request

60 CHF / hour

Tél : 076 374 20 63
Email :

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