How to play the Oud?
This page contains tips on the best and healthiest ways to get the best out of the Oud.
For those who practicing or performing on stage. Improve your skill set from these useful tips, I recommended for our students:
The perfect way to practice playing the Oud is to assume a straight sitting position on an armless chair with a straight backrest.
While playing on the Oud, be sure to use the foot stool. Do not practice for more than three hours at a stretch without using the foot stool to keep your back posture straight.
RIGHT POSITION FOR PLAYING THE OUD:
Place your left leg slightly behind the line of the heels of your right foot. You should always maintain this position while playing on stage with your right hand holding the Oud. The left hand has nothing to do with keeping the Oud straight. Rather, the Oud should be held with the right hand only.
This is a poor posture for handling the Oud. If you are seated wrongly and not straight while playing the Oud, you will feel uncomfortable and your hand will not be appropriately positioned relative to the fingerboard.
Note from the picture shown above that, the right foot is placed on a foot stool. If your right leg is not placed that way, you will lose balance while playing on the Oud.
How to hold the neck of the Oud?
You should compare holding the neck of the Oud to holding an apple with your left hand. You should hold the fingerboard in the following way.
With your thumb held straight, the tip of your fingers should play with the surface of the fingerboard, underneath the nails. It is very important to keep your left hand stretched forward on the fingerboard.
How to hold the pic of the Oud?
you should hold the pic in between your index and your thumb, the other three fingers has nothing to do with your Pic, we called it “Resha”
Hold the Resha as seen in the picture.
Practice in Front of A Mirror
Every Opera House I have been to for practice, has a mirror as a constant feature. This helps players to look at themselves in the mirror while they practice.
Practicing in front of a mirror helps you to have a glimpse of the positions of the left and right hands, how you are actually seating, and how the audience will see you during a performance. It also boosts your confidence by helping to overcome stage fright.
Parts of the Oud and what the instrument contains
• The Strings Base: This is the first part on the left side of the Oud model shown in this picture. The string base is made of wood to hold the strings from the bottom of the Oud. The strings Base is useful for holding the strings in position
• STRINGS: The conventional Ouds nowadays have 11 strings; five in unison and one a single string.
• THE BRIDGE: The second component on the left side of the Oud is the bridge. It is actually the part over which the strings pass to help vibrate the sounds vibrate the sounds by the strings or transmission to the sound box.
• SOUND HOLE: The third part is the sound hole; the sound hole of the Oud is to repress the sounds and project them out of the Oud box. This is what helps Bombay looking to produce the depth of their sounds.
• The Face of the Oud: A good Oud has a thin wooden face. By principle, the thinner the face of the Oud, the better the quality of the sound produced. The sound quality is measured by how delightful and open the sound is. Thus, it is very important for the Oud makers to be apply great care when designing the face of the Oud.
• The Neck or Fingerboard: The fingerboard is a fretless component of the Oud. As shown in the picture, there are no frets on the fingerboard. That is what makes the Oud an Oud. It is one major difference between the Oud and the Guitar. The reason for this is to enable the player produce a monochromatic range of sounds on an open frequency without any limitation.
How to tune the Oud instrument?
Egyptians, Syrians and other Arab countries tune the Oud from the top in the following order:
E – A – D – G – C – F.
The Iraqis usually tune the Oud differently from the top thus:
F – C – D – G – C – F.
The Turkish tune the Oud as follows:
C# – F# – B. – E – A – D
All students of School of Oud are taught to tune the Oud in the sequence below. It is the best sequence of tuning the Oud to cover more than 95% of the songs and compositions ever played on the Oud. This tuning is highly accurate and recommended for all regions including the Egyptian and Iraqi schools of Oud. Our students are advised to tune their Ouds using the following sequence:
F – A – D – G – C – F
What is the Maqam in music?
Jins, Maqam, Fasil, what does it mean?
The smallest unit in Arabic theory is the jins (plural ajinas), which is the Arabic interpretation of the Greek tetrachord. The word tetrachord comes from tetra- (four) and chord (group of notes). Arabic ajinas may alternately have three or five tones (trichords and pentachords). Even the same jins can be said to have three, four, or five tones, though this nuance of understanding is left to individual practise without consensus.
Two ajinas can come together to form a maqam (plural maqammat), which corresponds closely to the Greek concept of a mode. In addition to the two central ajinas, a maqam has other ajinas above and below its primary register. Unlike Western classical modes, maqamat are not restricted to an octave, nor need a mode ascend up to its octave. Several maqamat only span a sixth and are considered complete scales.
Maqamat are further grouped into families for classification. A family is a fasil (plural fasilah). Different teachers and theorists group the fasilah differently, but most agreeing on between 7-10 families of maqam. In composition and improvisation, performers may modulate within the fasil, but only rarely modulate outside.
Fasil Associations: Each family evokes particular moods in its listeners. While these moods are generally considered subjective, the moods are considered objective in the roots of the musical culture. Arabic theory developed under the influence of Persian culture, which itself was based in North Indian philosophy. North Indian classical music considers each raga (the rough equivalent of mode or maqam) to be a deity with specific attributes. Each raga is associated with a specific time of day, season or month of the year, forces of nature, and a specific human mood. Rather than the subjective associations of Western music, North Indian music teaches these associations objectively. Arabic music stands in between, admitting subjectivity but also emanating from a distinctly objective tradition.
Here are some of the most typical traditional fasil associations in Arabic music:
Maqam “Ajem” gives us feelings of strength, majestic, cheerful; used frequently in national anthems.
Maqam “Rast” gives us feelings of masculine love, pride, power, sound mind; used frequently in religious music.
Maqam “Nahawand” gives us feelings of drama, emotional extremes.
Maqam “Nawa Athar” gives us feelings of mysticism; Nawa Athar is often considered an extension of Fasil Hijaz in its mood.
Maqam “Bayat” gives us feelings of feminine love, joy, vitality.
Maqam“Kurd” gives us feelings of freedom, romance, gentleness; Kurd is often considered part of Bayyati in its mood.
Maqam “Hijaz” gives us feelings of the desert, solitude, enchantment, mysticism
Maqam “Saba” gives us feelings of sadness, pain
Maqam “Sika” gives us feelings of old days, ancient and religion songs
Video Examples of The Maqamat On The Oud
1- A Sense of Victory – Maqam Hijaz Kar Kord
The Definition of The Oud Instrument
The Oud instrument is considered as the first stringed instrument in music history. Started with only two strings, then developed to three, then five strings that live till now since the days of Lamech, sixth-generations after ADEM!!
According to El-Farabee, the Oud dates back to the days of Lamech; a sixth-generation descendant of Adam. Lamech was known as the “Father of the Oud players”. The first appearance of the Oud was 3000 BC. The desecrated skeleton suggested the form of the Oud. Oud is known as the first stringed instrument in history.
The oldest pictorial record of an Oud dates back to the Uruk period in Southern Mesopotamia (Iraq), over 5000 years ago on a cylinder seal acquired by Dr. Dominique Collon and the seal is currently housed at the British Museum.
Following his early oud lessons, Adly relates, he studied intensively at the Arabic Oud House, a music school in Cairo, while pursuing a business degree at Assiut University, in his home town. He later worked as a music lecturer.
Also on Adly’s résumé: a busy teaching regimen via Skype. His School of Oud Online has reached fledgling players in at least 27 countries, including Norway, he says. Now that he is living in the Washington area, he dreams of founding a brick-and-mortar oud school.
“I’d love to add this instrument to American history,” he says.
On Aug. 28, noted oud player Ramy Adly appeared on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage in Washington, DC. The purpose of his performance was “to introduce the West to the oud” and to the beautiful sounds of this 4,000-year-old instrument. To showcase the oud for an American audience, Adly even performed a rendition of “Amazing Grace,” which while beautiful, felt slightly forced. He excelled most in musical styles for which the oud is most known, but the range of styles he was able to showcase can be viewed as an invitation to incorporate the oud into genres that may overlook the versatility of this ancient stringed instrument.
This interview talks about Ramy Adly’s concert at the Kennedy Center. Radio Sawa interviewed Adly on his project, as one of the best musical projects of the Oud instrument in the world and talks about his band and his compositions. Ramy Adly released his album, “Mirage” at the concert.
This year’s event was attended by 600 guests, represented officials from the World Bank, Congress, U.S. Department of State, diplomats and Arab-American communities and organizations. While enjoying Egyptian oud player and composer Ramy Adly and international Syrian Opera singer Lubana Al Quntar mesmerized the crowd with music and song.