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It is imperative that this page is merged with the kanun page at Stop the ethnocentrist gibberish already! Kanun does not belong to Persians alone... it is a trans-continental music instrument shared by many nations and cultures, including the Arabs, Armenians, Azeris, Indians, and Turks.

Also, I now have pictures of the 79-tone Qanun in high resolution that I would like to donate to this article. They are accessable at


Why do you feel that it is "imperative" to do so? There is the musical usage, and there are the juridical and canonical usages. As for ethnocentrism, I would appreciate the specifics of what, and which pages, you are referring to. I have come across a claim that Santur originated in Persia, not belonging to Pesians; I don't recall that claim being substantiated, though I do appreciate the difficulty of doing so in finding English-language sources! As for the instrument's usage, the Chinese Yangqin certainly needs to be noted as well; and I have come across Eastern European variations as well.
Note that your picture link is now dead.
Thank you for the interest you're taking in this page. P00r (talk) 04:25, 13 June 2010 (UTC)


As it currently stands, the Arabic and Persian words are written with Qoph as the first letter. Typical Romanization for this is Q or GH or -- and herein lies the problem -- K! AFAIK, semantically, this refers to both the musical instrument Santur and the law. (Actually, the latter encompasses both juridical and canonical use; see below.)

However, the cited Encyclopedia Britannica page suggests that the word originated in Greek, during Ottoman times. But Greek alphabet has no Qoph (except for the obsolete Qoppa which, again, suggests that the word came from outside Greece). I am not a linguist, but it definitely is very surprising to me that any word with Qoph originated in Greek. The reason is simple: the sound of Qoph does not exist in English or Greek, and so no import into Arabic or Persian need use it; if, however, the imported word has a K sound, Kaph can easily be used for it. Going in the opposite direction, the absence of the Qoph sound forces mapping into the K sound. That is, both Qoph and Kaph map into the same sound. If the Romanization is not paid strict attention to, then confusion arises.

Now, it is not my place to question the venerable Encyclopedia Britannica! But are they talking about Kanun or Ghanun? The former, too, can have juridical and canonical meanings. (One may argue that they are talking about the Turkish usage of the word. However, their lumping of "Islamic states", and inclusion of Arabic, adds to the mess.)
I expect that it is ghanun that they are talking about. But the above argument undermines them. (Expert input from linguists would be welcome, though.)

Note that The Canon of Medicine suggests that usage of ghanun far predates the Ottoman times which the Britannica article claims. This should not come as a surprise. After all, what was the word for 'law' in pre-Islamic empires such as Persia's?
In the least, the cited Britannica article has a narrower definition of ghanun than is the case. In the absence of input from linguists familiar with Arabic or Persian, their Greek-origin claim is not intuitively sound, either! --P00r (talk) 06:25, 13 June 2010 (UTC)

hi —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:09, 22 October 2010 (UTC)

Kanon is a Greek word meaning rule.FYI please. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:51, 2 June 2014 (UTC)