Setar & Violin: Abolhasan Saba
Abolhasan Saba was born in Tehran in 1902. His father Abolqasem Kamalossaltaneh, was the son of Mahmud Khan Saba the poet and artist of the Qajar era, himself the grandson of Fathali Khan Saba the poet laureate to the court of Fathali Shah Qajar. Fathali Khan was also the chief governor of Qom and Kashan. Kamalossaltaneh was one of the virtuous scholars and a true lover of arts in his day and was also a skilled physician and a prominent man of letters and music. He played the setar admirably and he was the first teacher of setar to his son. Abolhasan Saba grew up in such a cultured family and was a deserving child for his ancestors.
His early acquaintance with music began in childhood studying setar with his father. Then he learned tombak from Haji Khan the famous tombak player. He was benefited to learn setar from Mirza Abdollah, the son of Aqa Ali-Akbar Farahani - the renowned musician of the Qajar era. The family of Farahani has a reputed school for setar and tar in the history of Persian classical music. After studying with Mirza Abdollah he went to master classes of Qolam-Hoseyn Darvish to complete his setar studies. His style had many characteristics peculiar to that of Darvish Khan.
Before violin, Saba had learned kamanche from Hoseyn-Khan Esma'ilzade (died in 1941) and this led him to consider violin more seriously. Saba believed that violin is more perfect than kamanche and the Persian musician had to learn its playing without any prejudice. His first teacher on the instrument was Hoseyn Khan Hang-Afarin, then he went to High School of Music (founded by Vaziri) to continue his violin lesson with Ali-Naqi Vaziri. According to Khaleqi, Vaziri was Saba's last teacher in music. Both Khaleqi and Saba were among Vaziri's early music students.