If you love and appreciate the rhythm, melody and physics of music then the Music Chamber at Ali Qapu Palace will both surprise and amaze you.
Traditional Persian music can sound discordant to Western listeners and I personally don’t find it pleasing to the ear at all but I am assured that it’s an acquired taste and I will enjoy it much more once I get used to the quarter notes.
Music and poetry have always been important to the Persians and you could call the acoustic technology created in the Music Chamber by elaborate stuccowork one of the earliest Dolby stereo systems. At 400 years old it is truly impressive.
The Palace itself is occupies six stories with the Music Chamber added as an annexe on the upper floor. The musician’s quarters however are on the ground floor and the Shah sat on a platform in the Music Chamber listening to the music whilst watching parades and celebrations in the square.
So how was this achieved without blaring out music at uncomfortable decibels? The design of the building meant that the music travelled from the ground floor up to the Shah’s Music Chamber by way of hollow columns and was then transmitted around the room by the hollow acoustic carvings in the plaster. See the photos below.