The phrase oud may make some individuals consider fragrances. Tom Ford’s Oud Wooden at present units fashionistas again between $263 and $360 a bottle: oud can check with “agarwood,” a really uncommon ingredient in perfumes. However common Open Tradition readers could also be extra aware of the bowl-shaped instrument that made its technique to Europe from North Africa through the Center Ages, giving rise to the lute (al-oud… The phrase oud, or ud, in Arabic merely means “wooden.”) The oud is, in spite of everything, a direct, if distant, ancestor of the trendy guitar, a topic we wish to cowl right here fairly a bit.
A few of the movies we’ve featured on the historical past of the guitar have starred classical guitarist and stringed instrument specialist Brandon Acker. Simply above, he introduces viewers to the tuning, timbre, and taking part in strategies of the oud, “one of the crucial common devices in Arabic music,” writes the location Maqam World. Additionally it is one of many oldest. Acker leaves his “consolation zone of Western Classical music” on this video due to his fascination with the oud as an ancestor of the lute, “one of the crucial essential devices of the musical interval we name the Renaissance.”
The oud, whose personal ancestor dates again some 3500 years to historic Persia, first arrived with the Moors throughout their 711 AD invasion of Spain. Though new to Europe, it was recognized within the Arabic world as “the king or sultan of all devices” and had developed from a 4 string instrument to at least one with (sometimes) eleven strings: “that’s 5 doubled strings tuned in unisons after which one low string, which is single.” Acker goes on to show the tuning of the only string and doubled “programs,” as they’re known as. The strings are plucked and strummed with a protracted decide known as a “risha” (or “feather”), additionally known as a “mizrap” when taking part in a Turkish oud, or a “zakhme” in Persian….
Wherever it comes from, every oud options the acquainted bowed again, fabricated from strips of wooden (therefore, “oud”), the flattop soundboard with one to 3 soundholes, and the fretless neck. “The oud has a heat timbre and a large tonal vary (about 3 octaves),” notes Maqam World. The instrument is tuned to play music written within the Arabic maqam, “a system of scales, routine melodic phrases, modulation prospects, and so on.,” nevertheless it has taken root in lots of musical cultures in North Africa, the Center East, and Europe. Acker might come to the oud as a fan of the European lute, however the older instrument is rather more than an evolutionary ancestor of the European Renaissance; it’s the “sultan” of a wealthy musical custom that continues to thrive across the Mediterranean world and past.
Well-known trendy oud gamers come from Egypt, Syria, Palestine, and Iraq, the place Rahim AlHaj was born. The musician “realized to play the oud at age 9,” NPR writes, “and later graduated with honors and a level in music composition from the Institute of Baghdad,” whereas additionally incomes a level in Arabic literature. AlHaj used his skills within the underground motion towards Saddam Hussain’s rule, and after imprisonments and beatings, was exiled in 1991. Now based mostly in New Mexico, “he performs world wide, and has even collaborated with Kronos Quartet and R.E.M.” See him carry out for Tiny Desk Live performance above and listen to extra oud in modern live performance settings right here.
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