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Playing the Oud

Henry Krinkle 17 Dec 12 - 08:47 PM
Phil Cooper 17 Dec 12 - 10:07 PM
Phil Cooper 17 Dec 12 - 10:08 PM
Henry Krinkle 17 Dec 12 - 10:24 PM
Amos 17 Dec 12 - 11:39 PM
GUEST,Stim 18 Dec 12 - 12:18 AM
Jack Campin 18 Dec 12 - 10:38 AM
Susan of DT 18 Dec 12 - 11:54 AM
GUEST,999 18 Dec 12 - 12:27 PM
GUEST,Stim 18 Dec 12 - 01:42 PM
Charmion 18 Dec 12 - 06:02 PM
GUEST,Stim 18 Dec 12 - 06:29 PM
GUEST,999 18 Dec 12 - 06:57 PM
Jack Campin 18 Dec 12 - 06:58 PM
GUEST,Stim 18 Dec 12 - 10:51 PM
GUEST,Mavis Enderby 19 Dec 12 - 06:44 AM
Jack Campin 19 Dec 12 - 07:37 AM
John P 19 Dec 12 - 09:39 AM
GUEST,Stim 19 Dec 12 - 12:29 PM
Susan of DT 25 Feb 13 - 10:57 AM
Jack Campin 25 Feb 13 - 11:05 AM
GUEST,John Foxen 25 Feb 13 - 11:49 AM
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Subject: Playing the Oud
From: Henry Krinkle
Date: 17 Dec 12 - 08:47 PM

I saw one for sale online for $150. Looks like a nice instrument.
Where to learn to play it? How is it tuned?
=(:-( ))


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Subject: RE: Playing the Oud
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 17 Dec 12 - 10:07 PM

My brother brought me one from the mideast years ago. I talked to a Turkish player who told me that his was tuned EADEBE. Though I'd heard that other tuned theirs in the old lute tuning of EADF#BE. The fretlessness of the neck makes things interesting. Also, that long flat pick they used.


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Subject: RE: Playing the Oud
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 17 Dec 12 - 10:08 PM

Oh, I should say, I never did learn to play mine. I would imagine there are site on line that might have more reliable information that I have.


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Subject: RE: Playing the Oud
From: Henry Krinkle
Date: 17 Dec 12 - 10:24 PM

I thought they had 11 strings. How many courses?5 and a single string?
=(:-( ))


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Subject: RE: Playing the Oud
From: Amos
Date: 17 Dec 12 - 11:39 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOs6IbbkmMc Playing the Oud

Oud Lessons

Learn the Oud Dot Com


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Subject: RE: Playing the Oud
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 18 Dec 12 - 12:18 AM

Often, yep. There are different tunings, depending on what kind of music you play. Turkish tuning, the highest four strings are: -B-e-a-d, with the lowest varying, depending on what makam you are playing. With Arabic tuning, the highest four are Adgc-with the lower one or two depending on makam also.Turkish and Arabic ouds are different sizes.

More here:Oud Tunings

One thing to remember is that a playable oud is a finely crafted instrument, and they tend to be priced accordingly. There are many, many cheap "souvenir" ouds that cannot even be tuned. I'm not saying that your $150 oud is one of these, but it is more likely than not.
Check the head stock--it should be finely crafted. The friction pegs should be comparable to violin pegs, etc.


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Subject: RE: Playing the Oud
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Dec 12 - 10:38 AM

The best book I know of is Mutlu Torun's "Ud Metodu", which is in Turkish. But there are so many pictures and so much of it is notation that the language isn't much of a barrier. You can easily find glossaries on the web for the musical terms used.

One peculiarity: Turkish musical notation (whatever the instrument) writes everything a fourth higher than it sounds. So you're reading high leger lines a lot of the time. Arabic music notation is the same as Western.

The difference in pitch standards that Stim mentioned means that whichever you choose, you'll be transposing from what you hear or read a lot of the time. Some Arabic players use even lower pitches.


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Subject: RE: Playing the Oud
From: Susan of DT
Date: 18 Dec 12 - 11:54 AM

When I was in grad school in the early '70s, I had a Saudi roommate whose cousin played the oud. He sold it to me for $50, since he could replace it when he got home more cheaply than he could ship it home. When he first gave it to me, it sounded to me like the strings were tuned like a mandolin, but with more courses - yes 5 1/2 course, eleven strings. I am not an instrumentalist and knew I was not likely to learn to play the oud, but it is certainly pretty.


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Subject: RE: Playing the Oud
From: GUEST,999
Date: 18 Dec 12 - 12:27 PM

Good info to add to that you've received already, Henry.


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Subject: RE: Playing the Oud
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 18 Dec 12 - 01:42 PM

Even though the oud is fundamentally similar to the guitar, you can't really play it like it is a guitar. You have to play oud music on it, which means that you have to be familiar with one or more of the different kinds of oud music. If you're not, it's not going to work.

Oud music is pretty much based on Turkish classical music, which,generally, works with a single melody, that uses one of a number of different scales, called "Makam" or "Maqam", and underlying rhythmic patterns called "usul". If you're going to play oud, you have to learn the theory, which starts with memorizing both makam and usul. They traditionally taught you to slap out the usul on your knees while humming the makam.

After that, it get complicated...


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Subject: RE: Playing the Oud
From: Charmion
Date: 18 Dec 12 - 06:02 PM

There's a taxi driver here in Ottawa who keeps his oud in the front seat so he can practise when business is slow. He told me that learning the oud is the work of a lifetime ...

Kinda like the banjo?


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Subject: RE: Playing the Oud
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 18 Dec 12 - 06:29 PM

Almost exactly! Check this guy, playing A Cumbus


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Subject: RE: Playing the Oud
From: GUEST,999
Date: 18 Dec 12 - 06:57 PM

Sorry Charmion, regarding the banjo comment: it just seems like a lifetime.


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Subject: RE: Playing the Oud
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Dec 12 - 06:58 PM

That's great. You don't often hear the cumbus used for that sort of song. Here's what he's singing about:

http://lyricstranslate.com/en/Usandim-I-Got-Tired.html

It's one of the cycle of Sufi allegorical love lyrics about Leila and Mejnun. You can either take it literally or read it as a mystic pursuing a love for God that can never be fulfilled in this life.


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Subject: RE: Playing the Oud
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 18 Dec 12 - 10:51 PM

Thanks for posting that, Jack.


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Subject: RE: Playing the Oud
From: GUEST,Mavis Enderby
Date: 19 Dec 12 - 06:44 AM

You can make the oud as complicated as you like, or keep it pretty simple.

Mine is an arabic oud, tuned DGADGC from low to high, it has a single string on its lowest course and doubles for the others making it an 11 string. There is a "spare" tuning peg which could be used to make the lowest course double but I don't feel the need. Mine has pretty badly fitted/worn pegs which are overdue for replacement. Tuning and staying in tune is not easy at present!

I play mine using a regular guitar plectrum rather than the more traditional mizrap (or even more traditional eagles feather!)

Being a slide guitar player, I found it fairly easy to take to playing blues on the oud, the tuning in 4ths on the upper four courses helps with this, and playing in D or G is pretty easy, using the upper courses for melody and the lower two for drones. I think it's an instrument well suited to blues, particularly if it'd dark and moody.

I'd love to get more into arabic/eastern styles though, I will look out for a copy of Ud Metoda (thanks Jack)


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Subject: RE: Playing the Oud
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Dec 12 - 07:37 AM

Getting strings for DGADGC tuning is difficult, even though it was formerly the most common one. CFADGC and BEADGC (Arabic scale length) and C#F#BEAD (modern Turkish straight fourths) are all much more easily available, and there isn't much latitude for using the wrong weight.

A mizrap puts far less stress on your hand than a guitar pick. I can't imagine why anybody uses Western-style picks on anything.


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Subject: RE: Playing the Oud
From: John P
Date: 19 Dec 12 - 09:39 AM

Guest Stim says:
You have to play oud music on it, which means that you have to be familiar with one or more of the different kinds of oud music. If you're not, it's not going to work.

Huh? I use it for medieval music, French and Breton music, original folk tunes, Bulgarian music, and just noodling around on. Some tunes are good oud tunes and some sound better on cittern or guitar. I hadn't tried blues as mentioned above, but I will now.

As for learning it, it's not really that frightening. Just keep telling yourself not to fret . . .


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Subject: RE: Playing the Oud
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 19 Dec 12 - 12:29 PM

John...the sorts of music that you mention work do lend themselves to being played on the oud, and can be used to create oud music. My point, without writing a freaking essay, is that the Oud has a very highly evolved technique, including ornaments, ways of developing ideas, and even scales and pitches--a methodology. And the instrument has evolved to facilitate that stuff. That's what I'm talking about.

And "Not to fret"? Ouch...


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Subject: RE: Playing the Oud
From: Susan of DT
Date: 25 Feb 13 - 10:57 AM

I am thinking of selling my oud. PM if you are interested. I would rather not ship it. I am in New Jersey.


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Subject: RE: Playing the Oud
From: Jack Campin
Date: 25 Feb 13 - 11:05 AM

Do you know who made it and when? Got any pictures, particularly any that show the maker's label?


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Subject: RE: Playing the Oud
From: GUEST,John Foxen
Date: 25 Feb 13 - 11:49 AM

An oud player who may be of interest to those who want to use the instrument to accompany singing is Maher Fayez, a Coptic preacher based in Cairo. I have to say I can't understand what he's singing and might not agree with his sentiments if I did but I do like the sound of his voice and his accompaniments.


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