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Mirzə Sadıq.jpg
Background information
Birth name Mirza Sadig
Born 1846
Shusha, Russian Empire
Origin Shusha, Karabakh, Azerbaijan
Died 1902
Genres Azerbaijani Folk Music, Mugham
Instruments Primary:

Mirza Sadig (Azerbaijani: Sadıqcan), also spelled Sadikhjan or Sadiqjan, born Sadig Asadoglu (1846, Shusha – 1902, Shusha), was an Azerbaijani tar-player (sazanda) known for developing the Azeri tar (or Caucasus tar or 11 string tar) from the Iranian tar.[1]

Life and fame[edit]

Sadigjan was born to a poor family of a watchman in Shusha. As a teenager, he took vocal lessons but lost his voice at the age of 18. He then took up pipe, kamancheh and eventually tar. By his mid-20s he was already a well-known tar player in South Caucasus and the neighbouring regions. In the 1890s he founded a musical ensemble which included prominent folk singers and musicians performing Azeri, Armenian and Georgian folk songs.[2]

Developing the Azeri tar[edit]

During the early 1870s, Sadigjan used the traditional Persian tar to develop the new version of this instrument, which later became known as the Azeri tar or the Caucasus tar. The Persian tar has 6 steel strings in 3 double-courses (the low one in octave). The Azeri tar invented by Sadigjan has further one extra bass-string on the side, on a raised nut, and usually 2 double resonance strings via small metal nuts halfway the neck. All these strings are running next to the main strings over the bridge and are fixed to a string-holder and the edge of the body.[1] Overall the Azeri tar has 11 strings and 17 tones.

Early tar players held the instrument to their knees. Sadigjan developed a new manner by reducing the size of the instrument, and for the first time presented the play on a tar nestled to the chest. The Azeri tar became a symbol of Azerbaijani music in the 20th century.

A tar is depicted on the obverse of the Azerbaijani 1 manat banknote issued in 2006.[3]


  1. ^ a b Atlas of Plucked Instruments - Middle East
  2. ^ (Russian) Sadigjan (1846–1902).
  3. ^ National Bank of Azerbaijan. National currency: 1 manat. – Retrieved on 27 March 2009.