According to El-Farabie, the Oud dates back to the days of Lamech a sixthgeneration
descendant of Adam. Lamech was identified as the “Father of the Oud
players”. The first look of the Oud was 3000 BC. The desecrated
skeleton suggested the type of the Oud. Oud is identified as the very first stringed
instrument in history.
The oldest pictorial record of the Oud dates back to the Uruk period of time in Southern
Mesopotamia (Iraq), more than 5000 years back on a cylinder seal obtained by Dr.
Dominique Collon and the seal is at the moment housed at the British Museum..
As the Oud becomes the quintessence of before chordophones, it also
constitutes their practical synthesis. In the ninth century, Miwardi, the jurist of
Baghdad, extolled its use in managing ailment, this kind of as King David did by means of 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 nonetheless maintains its Egyptian and Iraqi attributes and musical stylings. The Oud
was played in sacred areas this sort of as the temples of Egypt.
In the first hundreds of years of Arabian civilization, the oud experienced 4 programs (one particular
string for every program – double-strings arrived afterwards) only, tuned in successive
fourths. These had been named (for the lowest in pitch) the Bamm, then came
(increased to greatest in pitch) the Mathnā, the Mathlath and the Zīr. A fifth
string (greatest in pitch, cheapest in its positioning in relation to other strings),
known as ḥād ("sharp"), was often included for theoretical purposes,
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') today. It extends the upper element of the
instrument by some twenty cm and is inserted into the soundbox up to the
soundhole. This length, which has been much discussed, is important in the
instrument's development, deciding the amount and spot of the intervals
and as a result influencing the modes. In early nineteenth-century Egypt, Villoteau gave the
measurement as 22.4 cm a century later on, also in Egypt, Kamil al-Khula'i gave it
as 19.5 cm. In modern Egypt, the size of the neck may possibly vary among eighteen
and 20.five can. It is standardized as 20 cm in Syria, but a length of 24.5 cm could
be discovered on Moroccan types, he 'ud 'arbi (Arab 'ud). If the 'ud 'arbi is the
descendant of an archaic model of Andalusian provenance, the higher element of the
instrument could have turn out to be shorter. The neck rarely has
4. Types 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,
having 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 others of Arab
origin (mathna and mathlath). There is no circumstantial documentary evidence
to assistance this speculation.
(ii) 4-course 'ud: The Arabian 'ud qadim (ancient lute), in certain, invited
cosmological speculation, linking the strings with the humours, the temperature,
the aspects, the seasons, the cardinal details, 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 (9th century), who advocated tuning the most affordable system
(bamm or initial string) to the most affordable singable pitch. Putting the ring finger on a
mathematically determined size of this string, one particular moves on to deduce the
pitch of the 3rd open course (mathna), then that of the next (mathlath) and
finally the fourth (zir). (This technique is also utilized to the 5-system 'ud and is
nevertheless employed as a tuning technique, adhering to the sequence 1-four-two-three-5 or one-four-2-5-three.)
Adherents of the opposite school (Ikhwan al- Safa') tune from treble to bass. The
intention, inherited in component by the Turkish 'ud, involves pulling hard on the zir (large)
string, so that as it approaches breaking-point it offers a distinct sound. 1 then
moves on to figure out the pitch of the second program (mathna), the 3rd
(mathlath) and finally the fourth (bamm). These two educational institutions did not continue to be
fully individual. But whichever procedure is utilised, equally conclude up with tuning by
successive 4ths, each training course currently being tuned a 4th earlier mentioned the decrease training course
previous it. Musicologists, Eastern as properly as Western, who attempt to interpret the
pitch of these notes in European phrases conclude up with diverse benefits.
Despite the fact that the 4-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 prepared traditions. The Moroccan strategy would seem to be the
merchandise of a previous program, the 'ud
ramal, which also comprised a sequence of 4ths: ramal (?e), hsin, (?a), maya (?
d'), raghul (?g'). This 'ud, like its Tunisian counterpart, might be variously tuned: a
feature of these tunings is that they juxtapose the traditional 4ths with the octave
and occasionally the 5th and 6th (D-d- G-c). The strings of the 'ud 'arbi are named
dhil, ramal, maya, hsin this terminology by no signifies refers to a fastened pitch
common these kinds of as academic and standardized tuition strategies would would like for.
At the time of al-Kindi, two of the classes were produced of gut and two of silk. In the
10th 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 decrease courses of the 'ud correspond with people of two higher
strings of the Chinese qin, a truth that has led to speculation about the
relationship among Arab and Chinese civilizations by way of the Silk Route.
One more characteristic of the four-training course 'ud is that it is bichordal, getting double
classes. 13th-century iconography displays that it was already usual to pair the
strings at that time, probably to enhance sonority but also to allow the
improvement of a much more virtuoso sort of functionality.
(iii) Five-system '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 further course has a parallel in China.)
With Ziryab the fifth training course, acknowledged as awsat ('intermediary'), a phrase perpetuated
in the 'ud of San'a' named qanbus, is put among the 2nd (mathna) and
third (mathlath) classes. With al-Kindi and his successors, it was to attain the
conclude of the instrument and turn into the string named hadd ('high') or the 2nd
zir. (In accordance to oral tradition, to acquire an octave on the extended-necked lute
baglama, a low string ought to be placed in the middle. This is accomplished when the neck
has couple of frets.) As the historical 'ud did not have a two-octave compass, the
look of the fifth string corresponded to the demands of a new method.
The 4-program 'ud had no want to operate correct by means of the octave. Its repertory
was carried out on a tetrachord or pentachord, transposable an octave larger.
With the 5-program design, the heptatonic technique imposed full series of
octaves. The new lute was known as 'ud kamil ('perfect 'ud').
The 5-training course 'ud is the most common and most well-liked design between
performers. It has also been named the 'ud misri (Egyptian) simply because of the finely
created instruments developed by the lute makers of Egypt, who export them
as far as Zanzibar. The men and women of North Africa have extra the dialectal identify of
m'sharqi or mashriqi ('of the east'). The strategy of tuning it, very flexible in
the 19th century, is now becoming stabilized. These modifications are thanks partly
to the crack-up of the Ottoman Empire, which has caused a rupture amongst
Turkish and Arab cultures, and partly to the proliferation of teaching methods
endeavouring to impose a one type of tuning, running from minimal to large: yaka =
G 'ushayran = A duka = d nawa = g kardan = c'. Nevertheless, there are variants
reintroducing tuning by 4ths. As a result what is explained as 'Aleppo tuning' is made up
of: qarar busalik = E 'ushayran A duka =d nawa = g kardan = c'. This latter
structure is utilized in Turkey and Iraq. To response the sensible demands of
current-day notation, a treble clef followed by the figure eight is employed. This
method has been a lot criticized by individuals in favour of making use of the bass clef. The
tuning of the Turkish lute faithfully demonstrates the Arab type but in reverse, studying in
descending order: gerdaniye = g' neva = d' dugah = a asiran = e kaba dugah =
d (this previous, much more cell pitch might equally settle upon G. This out-of-date tuning
represents the 'old school' (eski akort), and has now been replaced by an
ascending tuning - the 'new school' (yeni akort): A-B-e-a-d'-g'. Though it is now
regarded incorrect in the Syro-Egyptian spot, and representative of the outdated
Ottoman college, a tuning method in ascending purchase survives in Iraq. It is composed
of: yaka = d 'ushayran = e duka = a nawa = d' kurdan = g'. The compass of the
bichordal five-system 'ud is just over two octaves in Turkey, it is three octaves
with the addition of a low training course. Arabian devices can attain this by the
addition of a sixth system.
(iv) Six-course 'ud: Two sorts of six-program 'ud exist: a single has 6 pairs of strings,
the other 5 pairs with an further minimal string. The first was discovered by Jules
Rouanet in North Africa towards the conclude of the last century tuned inclusively it
has given that disappeared apart from in Libya,
the place it is still made but with different tuning. A equivalent instrument, discovered in Syria,
is tuned C- E-A-d-g-c'. The instrument with 5 double strings and a one reduced
a single, however, is turning into more and more typical from Istanbul to Baghdad. It has
turn out to be common to location the further string soon after the maximum (or chanterelle).
Its pitch is at the decision of the participant no rule is laid down. The presence of the
further string endows the instrument with a broader range and improved ease of
enjoying, making it possible for the performer to operate effortlessly via three octaves. The
sixth training course is also coming to be employed as an intermittent drone, a new
(v) 7-system 'ud: 7-training course models, dependent on a sophisticated technique of
tuning, have been located in Egypt and Lebanon in the 19th century but have not been
noticed since 1900. There is a single exception: the Tunisian, Fawzl Sayib, is a residing
grasp of the 7-training course instrument in the six pairs and one particular minimal arrangement.
A attribute of this 'ud was that it reversed the arrangement of strings, inserting first
the large and then the low strings on the neck from remaining to appropriate. In accordance to
Mikha'il Mushaqa (1800-88), only 4 of the seven classes ended up played, the
cheapest program (jaharka) and the two highest (busalik and nihuft) getting unused in
The College of Oud On-line, is a platform created to educate the Oud by means of Skype by the
migrant Oud master Ramy Adly, an Egyptian well-known Oud Participant, Ramy Adly is a
youthful grasp of the oud, the adaptable lute-like instrument that formed Arab
classical audio. Grounded in the major Arab classical types thanks to demanding
education in his native Egypt, Adly has branched out repeatedly, incorporating jazz
idioms and embracing conversations with other musicians about the world.
Adly has carried out all around the Middle East, Europe, and North The usa. He has
composed audio for theater and movie, and gathered a large quantity of learners
around the world, by means of an modern online curriculum he produced, called The
University of Oud On the web. His sensitive, strong enjoying has been read from the
Library at Alexandria to American cathedrals and schools.
Now dependent in Washington, DC, Adly carries on to grow the possibilities of his
instrument. “I want to bring the oud to the very same degree as the guitar culturally, the
instrument that’s just about everywhere and can do almost everything,” he exclaims.
For Adly, the oud has always been like a member of the family members. Practically absolutely everyone
in his household performed the oud when he was growing up in Cairo, like uncles,
siblings, and his beloved grandfather, who gave him his initial introduction to the
complex, evocative instrument. “I grew up listening to the oud,” he recollects.
Listening is one particular factor, and mastering the instrument one more. Adly plunged into
his examine of this age-previous instrument at the Arab Oud Property, with Iraqi oud
virtuoso Naseer Shamma. Adly identified himself practicing for a dozen hours a day,
and loving it. “It was a good deal like the program Paganini set up for his college students,”
Adly describes. “You have to go via the hearth to be trained as a performer and
composer. I graduated as the two composer and soloist.”