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Thread: The Oud

  1. #16
    Senior Member Daniel's Avatar
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    It is rather fascinating, exploring a new cultural and musical system, Oistrach!

  2. #17
    Senior Member oistrach13's Avatar
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    thanks

  3. #18
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    Hmmm... Oistrach13, I was just reading your post again on quarter tones in Arabic music. I don't think I understood it very well, but I am interested. What quarter tones does it use in the scale, like in the key of B-flat? Or is that a very dumb question?

  4. #19
    Senior Member oistrach13's Avatar
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    Unhappy

    don't worry, it isn't a dumb question at all.

    I can understand your line of thought.

    about B-flat major, we tend to modify it a bit, by flattening the D a bit (not to the degree of a quartertone though), the major becomes a bit more "mellow". I am not very clear on this issue either, considering I am not trained in these things. (so far, my only real instrument is recorder, which isn't very helpful with microtonal graduations, the violin on the other hand :P ), this falls under different tunings more than it does under quartertones.

    normal quartertones however, are used quite often, and are variable.

    to explain this you have to see how the arabic modal system works, you have a mode which is called maqam. this is formed of sets of notes called ajnas.

    a jins (singular of ajnas) can be a trichord, tetrachord, or pentachord.

    the way it works is, a mode is made up of supremeposed blocks, these so called ajnas.

    for example, the intervals of the first four notes of any minor constitute a recognized tetrachord in arabic music, and are used in the construction of a mode.

    the effect this has on quartertones is that each jins has a specific set of intervals, for example, Hijaz corresponds to 0.5, 1.5, 0.5 (no quartertones there unless you're turkish), in actual playing however, the middle interval is shrunk a bit, so it doesn't seem so awkward.

    to take on a different jins (getting complicated)

    bayati tetrachord has the following (theoretical intervals): 0.75,0.75, 1

    this is usually: D, E-quarterflat, F, G

    what occurs is, the intervals are a bit more subtle, bayati is not really 0.75,0.75,1

    it can be for example, 0.65, 0.85, 1

    which basically means that the E-quarterflat moved a bit to the left (closer to the D)

    what happens is, each jins that contains a quartertone has with it the specific intervals that govern the position of the quartertone, all of which are learned by ear, and governed by ear (the most important thing is for the note to sound proper to the listener).

  5. #20
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    I had an Oud a number of years back. It was lots of fun but the pegs were ill fitting and I could'nt get it to stay in tune. It was a middle student model and I hope to one day Buy it back from the current owner. I would be able to fix it now that I have so much violin repair under my belt. I also (about 10 years ago) took the fingerboard off an unused guitar and had a quartertone fingerboard made for it.Talk about a study in futile! From start to final finish (2 false starts), it took about a year,and when done I was only able to play it for 15 minits at a time because it was TOO frustrating! There were quite a few profesional guitarists in my hometown who tryed it ,but only one who was able to actually play it. About 6 months ago I decided I needed another guitar and took the fingerbard back off. I am waiting untill I am able to set up my instrument repair shop in this new town and will then make a new one...

  6. #21
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    Instrument repair...mmm...good for you!! B) I can't repair instruments, but I hope to learn some things about how eventually. :unsure:

  7. #22
    Senior Member oistrach13's Avatar
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    what exactly did the quartertone figerboard you installed look like?

    did it have quartertone frets like a buzuq or a tanbour? (movable)
    or did it have no frets at all like an oud? (or a violin)

    both systems have respective advantages, but they shouldn't be as frustrating as you say :unsure:

    in first position, oud is relatively easy to play because it's usually tuned in fourths, which means regular intervals (unlike a guitar's which is helpful for harmonic uses)

    once the owner of that oud taught me the main scale, I could play a simple tune that doesn&#39;t contain flats within one day, although what limited me, or took so much time wasn&#39;t the oud, it was my ability to read music (although horrible now, it was much more horrible back then). flats are also easy, instead of using only index and ring finger, just use the middle finger . although I was a bit out of tune <_< particularly my E :angry: , it comes with practice, and I don&#39;t have any oud to practice with <_<

  8. #23
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    Imagine a guitar fingerboard with double the # of frets. Each one in between the ones that were there before.....Try to play a G chord...you have to skip certain frets, but if you do it right, it sounds like a regular guitar...a D chord is weird also... bar chords are insane... This from a guy who only spent maybe 3 or 4 hours on it in total.... Kerry

  9. #24
    Senior Member oistrach13's Avatar
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    ahh, I see

    a guitar neck is too short for this sort of thing

    besides, music that requires quartertones doesn&#39;t usually require any chords.

    perhaps you should get your self a buzuq or a tanbour

    if you look at them you will see that they have looong necks

  10. #25
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    Does the oud have a longer or shorter neck than the guitar?

  11. #26
    Senior Member oistrach13's Avatar
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    shorter, but not a problem (no frets)

  12. #27
    Senior Member oistrach13's Avatar
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    by the way, his has just occured to me.

    if you really want to play quartertones using frets, the best thing is to get a neck with movable frets. this way, you don&#39;t have to add a fret for quartertone, you could just add a move one of the frets to accomodate the scale you&#39;re using (you do intend on using a specific scale?)

    examples of such instruments have been attached, they show the buzuq (used mainly by gypsies), the persian tanbur (tear-drop body), and the turkish tanbur (roughly circular body). the last is my favourite, it has a really weird sound that moves between round and metallic, but the strangest thing is the "drift away" syndrome. if you strum a single note, you can hear that note floating away, if that makes any sense.

  13. #28
    Senior Member oistrach13's Avatar
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    by the way, if you want to hear the playing of the last guy (turkish), that can be arranged (you need to have real player though <_< )

    as the picture suggests, it wouldn&#39;t be a modern recording.

    meanwhile, here is a modern recording of someone (no idea who) http://www.acoustics.hut.fi/~cerkut/tanbur/piece2.aif

  14. #29
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    Interesting...Does the oud have twelve strings??? I enjoyed seeing the pictures. I couldn&#39;t hear the link, though, because my computer says it take a newer version of quick time than I have. I&#39;ll have to update it, and then I can listen. I think I know what you mean about a note floating away.

  15. #30
    Senior Member oistrach13's Avatar
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    for instrumental work, like the picture I have, it has eleven, grouped into 5 double courses and one single bass string. when it is used as an accompaniment for singing, the bass string is not necessary, and often unpresent.

    that means that unfortunately, the oud&#39;s normal range is not that much, mainly because 90% of arabic music uses only two octaves, which falls right into the middle of the oud&#39;s range.

    the number of strings though is not fixed, I know a few performars who use 7 or 8 strings (not counting double courses), and can reach a range of just under 4 octaves

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