Dotar an Iran cultural and intangible heritage at UNESCO

Dotar is one of the oldest instruments of Iranian music, and one of the most important stringed instruments – folkloric wounds of rural and urban communities in the country. The 14th session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee held in Bogota, the capital of Colombia. At this meeting, the file of the traditional skills of making and playing Dotar presented by Iran which was registered in UNESCO list by gaining the consent of the members of the committee in 2019.

Dotar
Dotar

The history of Dotar

This instrument has a history of several thousand years, and today it is played in different parts of the country with a slight change in the shape and manner of playing. As the most important instrument in the music culture of North Khorasan, Dutar has always been considered whose most important task has been to pass on the narrative and thought-provoking stories of the past to the next generations. By memorizing parts of the music, they could understand the advice of the stories more easily.

Prior to Dotar’s entry into the UNESCO World Heritage List, Radif of Iranian music, Music of Bakhshis of Khorasan, and the Art of Making and Playing Kamantcheh were on the World Heritage List.

 

The structure

Dotar is one of the stringed instruments with a long handle that has two strings and its name is probably based on this. This instrument is one of the oldest stringed instruments in Iran, but also in the whole Middle East and Central Asia. In some of Iran’s multi-thousand-year-old carvings, the image of this instrument has been found. Dotar is a simple and plain instrument with less use of decorations. Natural materials used to beautify it. These brief decorations can be seen in the handle section and usually made with precious stones or camel bones.

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Dotaar
Dotaar

How to Make a Dotar?

Dutars, like most Iranian instruments, are made of mulberry wood because they have acoustic properties, and some believe that there is a special cohesion in mulberry wood that prevents the instrument from falling apart.

The right tree for the instrument should be pest-free; It should not have seen much drought in its lifetime, because the kernels of the mulberry tree will badly damaged, and it will hollow from the inside. So this type of wood is not suitable for making the bowl of Dotar.

The appropriate diameter of the tree for making the bowl should be at least 40 to 50 cm, and the length of the sections should be approximately 55 cm. These pieces are divided from the center into four equal parts (4shagh). If the wood is in high quality without knots, it is possible to make 4 Dotar bowls with this wood.

How to Make a Dotar?

Haj Hossein Ali Ghamkhar believes that the best time to cut a mulberry tree and start making Dotar is winter. When the humidity is high, the moisture prevents the wood from cracking. However, immediately after cutting and preparing the bowl, they put it under the plastic to make the moisture of the wood come out slowly and gradually until June, over a period of several months. After this step, one or two summers must pass from the time of making the bowl.