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For the love of Oud! The many styles of the Oud and the people who love them…

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Presentation on theme: "For the love of Oud! The many styles of the Oud and the people who love them…"— Presentation transcript:

1 For the love of Oud! The many styles of the Oud and the people who love them…

2 Ev-oud-lution! The oldest pictorial record of a Lute dates back to the Uruk period in Southern Mesopotamia - Iraq – modern Nasiriyah city, around 5000 years ago. The Oud is a descendant from the Lyre, and part of the Lute“family”. It predatesthe guitar and many other stringed instruments. The Oud first emerged during the Kassite Period ( BC) in Mesopotamia with a small, oval body. A larger variety of Ouds appeared at Alaca Huyuk in Anatolia dated from the Hittite New Kingdom ( BC). These Ouds are more similar to the instrument’s present day form. This area is northern modern day Turkey.

3 In Persian Mythology, the invention of the Oud is traced to Lamak (a descendant of the Biblical Cain). Upon the death of his son, Lamak hung his body on a tree and his bleached skeleton was inspiration for the shape of the Oud. Hm…… Ibn Shihnah, an author of the 14th century, speculated that the development of the 'ud was linked to the spread of Manichaeism(one of the major Iranian Gnostic religions) and its invention to Manes himself, a valid theory since disciples of Manes encourage musical accompaniment to their religious office. The literal time the Oud began to spread has been a controversial debate. One theory links it’s spread from Southern Iraq to the Arabian peninsula in the 7 th century, but another claims that it wasn’t until the 9 th and 10 th centuries that the Oud reached Mecca. The root of the name Oud is derived from the Arabic word Al-Ud, which literally means “the wood” but contrasting theories link the Oud to the Persian name Rud, which simply means stringed instrument.

4 To know Oud is to love Oud The body of the Oud is made from lightweight wood, with a rounded back and flat surface (which will reverberate if struck). The bowl can be made of Oak, Mahogany, Rosewood, and various other woods. The flat surface generally has one large hole for acoustics, though earlier versions contained 2 smaller holes.They are called shamsiyya (little sun), qamarat (moons) or 'uyun (eyes). Non-fretted, the Oud has a short neck compared to the rest of the Lute family. (Tanbur, sitar, etc) The pegbox of the oud is bent back at a 45-90° angle from the neck of the instrument. The most common Oud has 6 strings – 5 are doubled and one is single Tthe Oud can have as little as 2 strings (early versions) and as many as 7 (Egypt). The 7 string Oud has all but vanished, with the exception of one master, Fawzl Sayib, who lives in Tunisia. (Northern Africa)

5 Ouds are all the rage There are two types of performance styles for the Oud: The 1 st is the Ottoman style, which emphasizes the ornamentation of the sound, produced by delicate glissandos of the fingers and slight vibratos. The result is a more intimate style of playing, thus some have referred to the Oud as “the path to meditation”. The 2 nd style is derived from Egypt. The volume is amplified by firm strokes of the, plectrum (pick), which makes the strings resonate; the result is a curiously dulled sound, similar to the nasal effect of Egyptian song. This calls for virtuosity in performance, which is less arguably intimate. A synthesis of these two styles is taking place in Somalia, where the manner of performance combines extensive glissandos with the sonorous impact of the plectrum - Traditionally, it was in secular usage that the 'ud made its mark, as the only kind of accompaniment to a form of responsorial song known as sawt. Though in modern day it is emerging as a solo instrument, Oudists like Rahim Al-Haj are featured as soloists with symphonies and at jazz clubs.

6 How to approach an unsuspecting Oud: - The right hand is used for plucking the strings, thus it is also in control of the dynamics. It can also be used to produce several special effects: - the 1 st is tremolo, which is unique to the Arabic style (very rarely used by Turkish Oudists) -the 2nd is unplucked ornaments (immediately after plucking, the Oudist can finger and release another note on the same string which sounds softly), the interval can be a minor second up to a major 3 rd. -The left hand uses four fingers to play, though some styles omit the middle finger. the weakness of the pinky makes it the slowest of all fingers. While Oud players spend endless hours working on strength and agility of the pinky, it always remains slightly weaker and slower than the rest of the fingers. This makes some fast passages difficult on the Oud.

7 Lotfi Bouchnak and 19th century lithograph by Allom

8 Richard Hagopian, Armenian Oud Master Hagopian Interview

9 TaQasim Oud A musical genre characterized by improvisation within a set of rules and conventions. It is up to the individual musician to create their own Taqasim. A Taqasim is multi-sectional, with sections separated from each other by moments of silence. The musical coherence of each section is achieved by focusing on one melodic idea, usually a specific melodic mode.It is widely viewed as an improvisation on a Maqam. The entire Taqasim is thus a gradual unfolding of a specific mode's unique characteristics. Generally, a Taqasim follows an ascending progression, with the musician beginning at the bottom of a modal scale and slowly working his way up to the higher notes. Playing more than one Maqam in a single Taqasim is also common. Taqasim with Electric Oud

10 Rahim Al-haj: Master Oud Player In the 1980s, Saddam Hussein’s regime banned Rahim’s music and threw him in prison. He fled to Jordan in 1991, and eventually settled in New Mexico. Before crossing into Jordan, Iraqi officials gave him a choice: His freedom or his Oud. “ I told myself there is no choice, you have one choice -- that is, to save your own life or to save your beloved things, the Oud. I was back and forth crying between the bus and border. I came back to the officer, begging him if he could just give it to me. He refused. For more than five years I could not sleep without this instrument. I always have to sleep with it, I have to touch it and I have to cover it and talk to it and I get just ill in the same minute. How can I leave my Oud? What will I do? Then I made a decision: I have to save my life and I have to cross the border and I did that without my instrument. “ - Rahim Al-haj

11 In an interview with Desiree Cooper: Cooper: What does it feel like when you have the Oud in your arms and you're playing it? “I feel I am with my mom. Just like a little boy, when I am in her lap and she hugs me, sitting in my mom's lap. The great thing about the Oud is that when you play it, you have to hug it. You have to put your arm around it. The back of the Oud will touch your chest and your stomach. It's exactly like you are hugging a person. When you play the oud it goes directly to your heart.”–Rahimal Al-Haj

12 Links! Rahim Al-Haj Jazz Oud Flamenco Oud


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