11 minute read


According to El-Farabie, the Oud dates back again to the days of Lamech a sixthgeneration
descendant of Adam. Lamech was acknowledged as the “Father of the Oud
players”. The very first visual appeal of the Oud was 3000 BC. The desecrated
skeleton suggested the form of the Oud. Oud is recognized as the very first stringed
instrument in historical past.
The oldest pictorial file of the Oud dates back to the Uruk interval in Southern
Mesopotamia (Iraq), in excess of 5000 many years in the past on a cylinder seal acquired by Dr.
Dominique Collon and the seal is at the moment housed at the British Museum..
As the Oud becomes the quintessence of earlier chordophones, it also
constitutes their functional synthesis. In the 9th century, Miwardi, the jurist of
Baghdad, extolled its use in managing ailment, such as King David did via his
lifestyle with his Oud. The Oud was in the palms of Egyptians and Iraqis when the
Israelites arrived out of Egypt. They took the Oud with them to the Holy Land. The
Oud nevertheless maintains its Egyptian and Iraqi functions and musical stylings. The Oud
was performed in sacred places this kind of as the temples of Egypt.
In the very first centuries of Arabian civilization, the oud had four programs (a single
string for every program – double-strings came afterwards) only, tuned in successive
fourths. These have been called (for the most affordable in pitch) the Bamm, then came
(larger to greatest in pitch) the Mathnā, the Mathlath and the Zīr. A fifth
string (highest in pitch, least expensive in its positioning in relation to other strings),
called ḥād (\“sharp\“), was at times added for theoretical needs,
generally to enhance the double octave.
The neck, joined to the physique, is described as ‘unq (‘neck’) in classical writings
and the raqba (‘neck’) or zand (‘wrist’) these days. It extends the higher component of the
instrument by some 20 cm and is inserted into the soundbox up to the
soundhole. This length, which has been much talked about, is critical in the
instrument’s design, deciding the quantity and spot of the intervals
and hence impacting the modes. In early nineteenth-century Egypt, Villoteau gave the
measurement as 22.4 cm a century later, also in Egypt, Kamil al-Khula’i gave it
as 19.5 cm. In modern Egypt, the duration of the neck may possibly vary in between eighteen
and 20.5 can. It is standardized as twenty cm in Syria, but a size of 24.5 cm may possibly
be located on Moroccan versions, he ‘ud ‘arbi (Arab ‘ud). If the ‘ud ‘arbi is the
descendant of an archaic product of Andalusian provenance, the higher element of the
instrument might have grow to be shorter. The neck rarely has
four. Versions of the ‘ud
(i) Two-string ‘ud:The thesis of its existence has been upheld by musicologists
from Europe and Iran it envisages the archaic ‘ud as a counterpart of the tanbur,
getting two strings like that instrument. The argument rests on the names of the
strings, two of which are Iranian terms (bamm and zir) and two other individuals of Arab
origin (mathna and mathlath). There is no circumstantial documentary proof
to assistance this hypothesis.
(ii) Four-system ‘ud: The Arabian ‘ud qadim (historic lute), in certain, invited
cosmological speculation, linking the strings with the humours, the temperature,
the elements, the seasons, the cardinal points, the zodiac and the stars. The
strings could be tuned bass to treble or treble to bass. Bass to treble tuning is
represented by al-Kindi (ninth century), who advocated tuning the least expensive course
(bamm or 1st string) to the most affordable singable pitch. Positioning the ring finger on a
mathematically decided duration of this string, 1 moves on to deduce the
pitch of the 3rd open up course (mathna), then that of the second (mathlath) and
lastly the fourth (zir). (This program is also utilized to the five-program ‘ud and is
even now utilized as a tuning technique, pursuing the sequence one-4-two-3-five or 1-four-2-5-3.)
Adherents of the reverse school (Ikhwan al- Safa’) tune from treble to bass. The
intention, inherited in component by the Turkish ‘ud, involves pulling hard on the zir (high)
string, so that as it methods breaking-stage it offers a clear seem. One then
moves on to decide the pitch of the second course (mathna), the 3rd
(mathlath) and ultimately the fourth (bamm). These two schools did not remain
totally different. But whichever treatment is utilised, both stop up with tuning by
successive 4ths, each and every program being tuned a 4th above the decrease program
previous it. Musicologists, Eastern as nicely as Western, who try to interpret the
pitch of these notes in European phrases finish up with distinct outcomes.
Though the four-system ‘ud survives in Morocco, as the ‘ud ‘arbi, the tuning
does not conform to the pitches inferred from classical treatises: a conflict
among oral and prepared traditions. The Moroccan approach would seem to be the
solution of a prior system, the ‘ud
ramal, which also comprised a sequence of 4ths: ramal (?e), hsin, (?a), maya (?
d’), raghul (?g’). This ‘ud, like its Tunisian counterpart, could be variously tuned: a
characteristic of these tunings is that they juxtapose the standard 4ths with the octave
and often the 5th and 6th (D-d- G-c). The strings of the ‘ud ‘arbi are named
dhil, ramal, maya, hsin this terminology by no indicates refers to a mounted pitch
common such as academic and standardized tuition methods would desire for.
At the time of al-Kindi, two of the classes ended up produced of intestine and two of silk. In the
tenth century silk turned predominant and some texts give the composition of
the twisted threads: bamm = sixty four threads, mathlath = 48, mathna = 36, zir = 27.
The figures for the lower courses of the ‘ud correspond with individuals of two higher
strings of the Chinese qin, a reality that has led to speculation about the
relationship amongst Arab and Chinese civilizations by way of the Silk Route.
An additional attribute of the four-training course ‘ud is that it is bichordal, getting double
courses. thirteenth-century iconography exhibits that it was previously common to pair the
strings at that time, almost certainly to enhance sonority but also to let the
advancement of a a lot more virtuoso variety of overall performance.
(iii) 5-program ‘ud: The addition in Andalusia of a fifth system has been
attributed to Ziryab (8th-ninth century), though in theoretical writings it appeared
in Iraq with al-Kindi. (The addition of this extra system has a parallel in China.)
With Ziryab the fifth program, known as awsat (‘intermediary’), a phrase perpetuated
in the ‘ud of San’a’ called qanbus, is placed between the 2nd (mathna) and
3rd (mathlath) courses. With al-Kindi and his successors, it was to get to the
finish of the instrument and become the string named hadd (‘high’) or the second
zir. (According to oral tradition, to receive an octave on the prolonged-necked lute
baglama, a lower string need to be put in the center. This is carried out when the neck
has couple of frets.) As the historical ‘ud did not have a two-octave compass, the
appearance of the fifth string corresponded to the calls for of a new system.
The four-system ‘ud had no need to run correct by means of the octave. Its repertory
was carried out on a tetrachord or pentachord, transposable an octave larger.
With the five-system design, the heptatonic program imposed complete collection of
octaves. The new lute was referred to as ‘ud kamil (‘perfect ‘ud’).
The five-system ‘ud is the most typical and most well-liked product amid
performers. It has also been known as the ‘ud misri (Egyptian) simply because of the finely
made instruments developed by the lute makers of Egypt, who export them
as significantly as Zanzibar. The men and women of North Africa have added the dialectal title of
m’sharqi or mashriqi (‘of the east’). The strategy of tuning it, really flexible in
the 19th century, is now getting to be stabilized. These modifications are due partly
to the crack-up of the Ottoman Empire, which has induced a rupture among
Turkish and Arab cultures, and partly to the proliferation of training techniques
endeavouring to impose a one kind of tuning, operating from lower to high: yaka =
G ‘ushayran = A duka = d nawa = g kardan = c’. However, there are variants
reintroducing tuning by 4ths. Thus what is described as ‘Aleppo tuning’ is composed
of: qarar busalik = E ‘ushayran A duka =d nawa = g kardan = c’. This latter
framework is utilized in Turkey and Iraq. To response the sensible requirements of
existing-working day notation, a treble clef followed by the figure 8 is employed. This
procedure has been much criticized by people in favour of making use of the bass clef. The
tuning of the Turkish lute faithfully demonstrates the Arab sort but in reverse, reading in
descending purchase: gerdaniye = g’ neva = d’ dugah = a asiran = e kaba dugah =
d (this final, far more cell pitch might equally settle on G. This outdated tuning
signifies the ‘old school’ (eski akort), and has now been changed by an
ascending tuning - the ‘new school’ (yeni akort): A-B-e-a-d’-g’. However it is now
considered incorrect in the Syro-Egyptian region, and consultant of the outdated
Ottoman university, a tuning method in ascending buy survives in Iraq. It consists
of: yaka = d ‘ushayran = e duka = a nawa = d’ kurdan = g’. The compass of the
bichordal five-program ‘ud is just more than two octaves in Turkey, it is 3 octaves
with the addition of a minimal training course. Arabian devices can accomplish this by the
addition of a sixth training course.
(iv) 6-system ‘ud: Two varieties of six-program ‘ud exist: one particular has six pairs of strings,
the other five pairs with an additional reduced string. The initial was identified by Jules
Rouanet in North Africa towards the finish of the last century tuned inclusively it
has considering that disappeared other than in Libya,
exactly where it is nonetheless created but with diverse tuning. A equivalent instrument, located in Syria,
is tuned C- E-A-d-g-c’. The instrument with five double strings and a single low
one, nonetheless, is getting to be progressively typical from Istanbul to Baghdad. It has
turn out to be common to place the further string soon after the optimum (or chanterelle).
Its pitch is at the selection of the player no rule is laid down. The presence of the
extra string endows the instrument with a broader assortment and enhanced relieve of
enjoying, permitting the performer to operate simply by way of 3 octaves. The
sixth course is also coming to be employed as an intermittent drone, a new
(v) 7-program ‘ud: 7-program designs, dependent on a complex technique of
tuning, ended up identified in Egypt and Lebanon in the nineteenth century but have not been
observed considering that 1900. There is one exception: the Tunisian, Fawzl Sayib, is a residing
master of the seven-system instrument in the 6 pairs and 1 reduced arrangement.
A characteristic of this ‘ud was that it reversed the arrangement of strings, placing first
the substantial and then the lower strings on the neck from left to right. According to
Mikha’il Mushaqa (1800-88), only four of the 7 classes had been performed, the
least expensive training course (jaharka) and the two highest (busalik and nihuft) currently being unused in
overall performance.
The University of Oud On the web, is a platform created to educate the Oud through Skype by the
migrant Oud learn Ramy Adly, an Egyptian popular Oud Player, Ramy Adly is a
young learn of the oud, the functional lute-like instrument that shaped Arab
classical audio. Grounded in the major Arab classical designs thanks to rigorous
training in his indigenous Egypt, Adly has branched out continuously, incorporating jazz
idioms and embracing conversations with other musicians all around the planet.
Adly has carried out about the Middle East, Europe, and North The us. He has
composed music for theater and film, and gathered a big variety of learners
about the world, by way of an modern on-line curriculum he produced, named The
School of Oud On-line. His delicate, strong taking part in has been heard from the
Library at Alexandria to American cathedrals and educational institutions.
Now dependent in Washington, DC, Adly continues to broaden the prospects of his
instrument. “I want to carry the oud to the exact same degree as the guitar culturally, the
instrument that is just about everywhere and can do everything,” he exclaims.
For Adly, the oud has often been like a member of the household. Almost everyone
in his family played the oud when he was increasing up in Cairo, like uncles,
siblings, and his beloved grandfather, who gave him his initial introduction to the
sophisticated, evocative instrument. “I grew up listening to the oud,” he recalls.
Listening is a single thing, and mastering the instrument another. Adly plunged into
his research of this age-outdated instrument at the Arab Oud Home, with Iraqi oud
virtuoso Naseer Shamma. Adly discovered himself practising for a dozen several hours a working day,
and loving it. “It was a whole lot like the program Paganini recognized for his pupils,”
Adly points out. “You have to go by way of the hearth to be educated as a performer and
composer. I graduated as the two composer and soloist.”