The first written evidence of Persian music dates back to the Sassanid Period (224-651 CE). Barbad, a court musician of the Sassanid Empire of Persia created the first musical system in the Middle East, known as the Royal Khosravani, dedicated to the king Khosro II. Many of the current melodic figures of the Persian classical music in various tonal spaces (in Persian called Dastgah), have been survived from this period by the oral tradition.
However, many of them have been disappeared in the course of time. Radif comprises seven Dastgahs and five vocal Radifs, each with its specific number of melodies (20-40) called Gousheh. A typical performance of a Dastgahs includes prelude (Pishdaramad), introduction (Daramad), song (Tasnif), rhythmic (Chaharmezrab), dance (Reng) and a chosen number of Goushehs. of note is that Gousheh and Daramad are non-metric, while Tasnif, Pishdaramad, Reng and Chaharmezrab are rhythmic.
A typical performance of a Dastgahs includes prelude (Pishdaramad), introduction (Daramad), song (Tasnif), rhythmic (Chaharmezrab), dance (Reng) and a chosen number of Goushehs.
During the years, Iranian classical music has been combined with other musical genres (e.g., pop). Also, today the societal position of musicians in Iran is much higher than it used to be such that they are now considered artists who present their works in concerts (not just at parties like before), and this art is taught at universities and institutes. To introduce this art internationally and to value its significance, Radif of Iranian music was inscribed UNESCO in 2009 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.