Windows on the World: Golfam Khayam – Iran

Golfam Khayam – Duochrome 

Different layers of Persian traditional music are apparent in this composition. The overall from is derived from a contrapuntal common form in traditional music which is called “Javab- Avaz” (song-respond) . One of the rare musical forms with contrapuntal texture in traditional music which is improvised by two or three musicians: a leading singer who recites and sings a poem, along with one or two performers who follow the singer simultaneously with imitative phrases. The form is rhythmically free and never notated: the singer initiates the improvisation from low register and sings melismatic motives around a tetra chord, concludes the section with a cadential phrase and moves to a higher register. This musical form has a climax which occurs when the singer is in the highest range of his/her voice.

Duochrome is a quasi lamentation based on effect of time as a suspended element. The drone is emphasized throughout the piece however the modes are gradually distancing themselves from the point of departure constructing a climax that occurs on the octatonic scale which is very far from the tradition, this is where the drone explodes, transforms and concludes itself to G as hollow and suspended result.


Golfam KHAYAM has evolved into an international career as a composer-improviser. This career reflects her unique musical language through the integration of her native musical elements within a contemporary and experimental musical framework. She has appeared as soloist and chamber musicians extensively whereas her music continues to be performed in numerous music festivals such as Glatt&Verkehrt (Austira), Les Nuits du Monde, Orient-Occident (Switzerland, Geneva), Aarhus International Guitar Festival, Copenhagen Guitar Festival, Basel Culturescapes Festival, Aalborg International Guitar Festival, Yerevan Naregatsi Art Festival (Armenia), Mixtur contemporary music festival (Barcelona). She is often invited as a guest lecturer in the Copenhagen Royal Academy, Aarhus Royal Academy, Geneva Music University and Tehran Art University. Among her numerous prizes and scholarships, are HEMGe Concerto Competition, HES-SO full scholarship and fellowship award , CCM scholarship award. As a recording artist so far her music is recorded and produced by ECM records, Doberman-Yppan Records, Hermes Records, Parsian Sound Records. Born and raised in Tehran, in a family of artist, Golfam holds a Master of Music from the College-Conservatory of Music (USA), a degree in “Interprétation Specialisée Solist” from HEM (Geneva, Switzerland ) and a Master of Performer-Composer from the same university.