Music, Sound, and Architecture at the Iranian Zurkhaneh
This collection contains supplemental media to accompany chapter 14, "Of Mirrors and Frames: Music, Sound, and Architecture at the Iranian Zurkhaneh," by Federico Spinetti. The chapter "offers an ethnographically based study of the complex relationship between sonic performance and auditory experience, athletic practice, and built environment in the traditional Iranian gymnasium known as zūrkhāneh. The author considers the ways in which the unique architectural and interior design features of zūrkhāneh gymnasia relate to both musical-poetic content and athletic exercises in a web of symbolic correspondences that articulate the tenets of the zūrkhāneh ethos. This referential mirroring of musical and architectural texts is key to the creation of meaning on the part of gymnasia affiliates. Moving beyond the symbolic dimension, Spinetti construes architecture as a frame for communicative and performative interaction. The author illustrates the spatial articulation of sound and movement, contending that architectural frames and the disposition of social actors within them are essential to the unfolding of performative interactions in the musico-athletic practice of the zūrkhāneh ; conversely, he explores the sonic articulation of space, arguing that sonic events are central to the ways in which zūrkhāneh gymnasts interact meaningfully with the built environment. Through this symbolic-referential as well as pragmatic-performative exploration of how sound and material environment are experienced conjointly, the author proposes 'a multisensory approach to both architecture and music, beyond the confines of putatively discrete auditory and visual or spatial domains.'" This collection contains 18 color photographs and 8 videos of the ritual, including a number of clips from the author's 2011 documentary Zurkhaneh: The House of Strength—Music and Martial Arts of Iran.
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