According to El-Farabie, the Oud dates back to the days of Lamech a sixthgeneration
descendant of Adam. Lamech was known as the “Father of the Oud
players”. The very first appearance of the Oud was 3000 BC. The desecrated
skeleton recommended the sort of the Oud. Oud is recognized as the initial stringed
instrument in background.
The oldest pictorial report of the Oud dates back again to the Uruk period in Southern
Mesopotamia (Iraq), more than 5000 years back on a cylinder seal acquired by Dr.
Dominique Collon and the seal is at present housed at the British Museum..
As the Oud gets to be the quintessence of previously chordophones, it also
constitutes their useful synthesis. In the 9th century, Miwardi, the jurist of
Baghdad, extolled its use in dealing with illness, these kinds of as King David did via his
daily life with his Oud. The Oud was in the arms of Egyptians and Iraqis when the
Israelites arrived out of Egypt. They took the Oud with them to the Holy Land. The
Oud nonetheless maintains its Egyptian and Iraqi characteristics and musical stylings. The Oud
was performed in sacred spots this sort of as the temples of Egypt.
In the very first hundreds of years of Arabian civilization, the oud experienced 4 classes (one particular
string for each training course – double-strings came afterwards) only, tuned in successive
fourths. These were called (for the least expensive in pitch) the Bamm, then arrived
(higher to optimum in pitch) the Mathnā, the Mathlath and the Zīr. A fifth
string (optimum in pitch, most affordable in its positioning in relation to other strings),
called ḥād ("sharp"), was at times additional for theoretical needs,
usually to complement the double octave.
The neck, joined to the entire body, is described as 'unq ('neck') in classical writings
and the raqba ('neck') or zand ('wrist') these days. It extends the upper component of the
instrument by some 20 cm and is inserted into the soundbox up to the
soundhole. This duration, which has been considerably talked about, is critical in the
instrument's design, identifying the quantity and location of the intervals
and therefore impacting the modes. In early 19th-century Egypt, Villoteau gave the
measurement as 22.four cm a century later on, also in Egypt, Kamil al-Khula'i gave it
as 19.five cm. In modern day Egypt, the duration of the neck may vary among eighteen
and 20.5 can. It is standardized as twenty cm in Syria, but a size of 24.five cm may
be located on Moroccan designs, he 'ud 'arbi (Arab 'ud). If the 'ud 'arbi is the
descendant of an archaic model of Andalusian provenance, the upper part of the
instrument may have turn out to be shorter. The neck hardly ever has
4. Models 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 conditions (bamm and zir) and two others of Arab
origin (mathna and mathlath). There is no circumstantial documentary evidence
to assist this hypothesis.
(ii) 4-training course 'ud: The Arabian 'ud qadim (historical lute), in distinct, invited
cosmological speculation, linking the strings with the humours, the temperature,
the components, the seasons, the cardinal factors, the zodiac and the stars. The
strings might 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 system
(bamm or initial string) to the lowest singable pitch. Putting the ring finger on a
mathematically established duration of this string, a single moves on to deduce the
pitch of the 3rd open system (mathna), then that of the next (mathlath) and
lastly the fourth (zir). (This program is also used to the five-training course 'ud and is
still utilised as a tuning technique, pursuing the sequence 1-4-2-three-5 or one-4-2-five-3.)
Adherents of the opposite school (Ikhwan al- Safa') tune from treble to bass. The
intention, inherited in element by the Turkish 'ud, entails pulling hard on the zir (higher)
string, so that as it approaches breaking-level it gives a distinct audio. A single then
moves on to establish the pitch of the 2nd system (mathna), the 3rd
(mathlath) and last but not least the fourth (bamm). These two educational institutions did not continue being
fully different. But whichever process is used, both stop up with tuning by
successive 4ths, every single course currently being tuned a 4th earlier mentioned the lower course
preceding it. Musicologists, Japanese as effectively as Western, who try to interpret the
pitch of these notes in European phrases conclude up with various outcomes.
Although 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
in between oral and composed traditions. The Moroccan strategy would seem to be the
product of a preceding 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, may be variously tuned: a
attribute of these tunings is that they juxtapose the conventional 4ths with the octave
and at times the fifth and sixth (D-d- G-c). The strings of the 'ud 'arbi are named
dhil, ramal, maya, hsin this terminology by no signifies refers to a fixed pitch
standard these kinds of as educational and standardized tuition approaches would want for.
At the time of al-Kindi, two of the classes had been manufactured of gut and two of silk. In the
tenth century silk became predominant and some texts give the composition of
the twisted threads: bamm = 64 threads, mathlath = 48, mathna = 36, zir = 27.
The figures for the reduce courses of the 'ud correspond with those of two upper
strings of the Chinese qin, a reality that has led to speculation about the
romantic relationship amongst Arab and Chinese civilizations by way of the Silk Route.
Yet another characteristic of the four-program 'ud is that it is bichordal, having double
classes. thirteenth-century iconography demonstrates that it was already normal to pair the
strings at that time, possibly to improve sonority but also to allow the
advancement of a far more virtuoso kind of performance.
(iii) 5-course 'ud: The addition in Andalusia of a fifth system has been
attributed to Ziryab (eighth-ninth century), although in theoretical writings it appeared
in Iraq with al-Kindi. (The addition of this extra program has a parallel in China.)
With Ziryab the fifth program, identified as awsat ('intermediary'), a phrase perpetuated
in the 'ud of San'a' known as qanbus, is placed in between the second (mathna) and
3rd (mathlath) courses. With al-Kindi and his successors, it was to reach the
stop of the instrument and turn out to be the string referred to as hadd ('high') or the next
zir. (In accordance to oral tradition, to get an octave on the long-necked lute
baglama, a reduced string should be put in the center. This is carried out when the neck
has number of frets.) As the ancient 'ud did not have a two-octave compass, the
physical appearance of the fifth string corresponded to the needs of a new system.
The 4-program 'ud had no want to operate proper via the octave. Its repertory
was done on a tetrachord or pentachord, transposable an octave higher.
With the five-program product, the heptatonic system imposed full collection of
octaves. The new lute was named 'ud kamil ('perfect 'ud').
The 5-system 'ud is the most frequent and most well-liked model between
performers. It has also been named the 'ud misri (Egyptian) due to the fact of the finely
constructed devices produced by the lute makers of Egypt, who export them
as significantly as Zanzibar. The folks of North Africa have extra the dialectal identify of
m'sharqi or mashriqi ('of the east'). The approach of tuning it, extremely versatile in
the nineteenth century, is now getting to be stabilized. These modifications are because of partly
to the crack-up of the Ottoman Empire, which has induced a rupture between
Turkish and Arab cultures, and partly to the proliferation of educating methods
endeavouring to impose a solitary type of tuning, running from low to high: yaka =
G 'ushayran = A duka = d nawa = g kardan = c'. Even so, there are variants
reintroducing tuning by 4ths. Therefore what is described as 'Aleppo tuning' is composed
of: qarar busalik = E 'ushayran A duka =d nawa = g kardan = c'. This latter
construction is utilised in Turkey and Iraq. To solution the practical requirements of
present-working day notation, a treble clef followed by the figure 8 is used. This
method has been considerably criticized by those in favour of making use of the bass clef. The
tuning of the Turkish lute faithfully displays the Arab sort but in reverse, looking through in
descending buy: gerdaniye = g' neva = d' dugah = a asiran = e kaba dugah =
d (this final, much more cellular pitch may similarly settle upon G. This out-of-date tuning
represents 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'. Though it is now
regarded as incorrect in the Syro-Egyptian region, and agent of the previous
Ottoman faculty, a tuning strategy in ascending get survives in Iraq. It is made up
of: yaka = d 'ushayran = e duka = a nawa = d' kurdan = g'. The compass of the
bichordal five-course 'ud is just above two octaves in Turkey, it is a few octaves
with the addition of a reduced program. Arabian instruments can obtain this by the
addition of a sixth system.
(iv) Six-course 'ud: Two varieties of six-training course 'ud exist: one particular has six pairs of strings,
the other five pairs with an extra lower string. The 1st was identified by Jules
Rouanet in North Africa in direction of the stop of the final century tuned inclusively it
has since disappeared except in Libya,
exactly where it is nevertheless produced but with diverse tuning. A comparable instrument, located in Syria,
is tuned C- E-A-d-g-c'. The instrument with 5 double strings and a single minimal
one particular, however, is turning into ever more typical from Istanbul to Baghdad. It has
turn out to be common to area the additional string following the greatest (or chanterelle).
Its pitch is at the option of the participant no rule is laid down. The existence of the
added string endows the instrument with a broader range and increased ease of
taking part in, permitting the performer to operate effortlessly by way of three octaves. The
sixth program is also coming to be used as an intermittent drone, a new
(v) 7-program 'ud: Seven-training course types, primarily based on a intricate technique of
tuning, have been identified in Egypt and Lebanon in the 19th century but have not been
observed considering that 1900. There is a single exception: the Tunisian, Fawzl Sayib, is a dwelling
grasp of the seven-program instrument in the 6 pairs and a single reduced arrangement.
A function of this 'ud was that it reversed the arrangement of strings, putting 1st
the higher and then the minimal strings on the neck from left to correct. According to
Mikha'il Mushaqa (1800-88), only four of the seven courses have been performed, the
most affordable system (jaharka) and the two optimum (busalik and nihuft) becoming unused in
The University of Oud Online, is a system constructed to educate the Oud by means of Skype by the
migrant Oud grasp Ramy Adly, an Egyptian popular Oud Participant, Ramy Adly is a
young learn of the oud, the flexible lute-like instrument that formed Arab
classical tunes. Grounded in the main Arab classical types thanks to arduous
instruction in his indigenous Egypt, Adly has branched out regularly, incorporating jazz
idioms and embracing discussions with other musicians all around the world.
Adly has performed around the Middle East, Europe, and North The us. He has
composed music for theater and film, and gathered a massive amount of students
all around the planet, by way of an progressive on the internet curriculum he designed, referred to as The
College of Oud On the web. His sensitive, sturdy actively playing has been read from the
Library at Alexandria to American cathedrals and schools.
Now based mostly in Washington, DC, Adly carries on to grow the possibilities of his
instrument. “I want to carry the oud to the identical stage as the guitar culturally, the
instrument that is everywhere and can do almost everything,” he exclaims.
For Adly, the oud has constantly been like a member of the family. Practically every person
in his family performed the oud when he was expanding up in Cairo, including uncles,
siblings, and his beloved grandfather, who gave him his very first introduction to the
sophisticated, evocative instrument. “I grew up listening to the oud,” he recollects.
Listening is a single issue, and mastering the instrument another. Adly plunged into
his examine of this age-previous instrument at the Arab Oud Property, with Iraqi oud
virtuoso Naseer Shamma. Adly found himself practising for a dozen hrs a working day,
and loving it. “It was a lot like the program Paganini established for his students,”
Adly clarifies. “You have to go by means of the fire to be qualified as a performer and
composer. I graduated as the two composer and soloist.”