The Oud

Topics: Oud, Egypt, Music Pages: 4 (1604 words) Published: December 10, 2005
In Persian mythology, the invention of the "OUD" is traced to Lamak, a descendant of Biblical Cain. As the story goes, on the death of his son, Lamak hung the young man¡¦s remains on a tree and the desiccated skeleton suggested the form of an oud. Throughout history, versions of the instrument have made their mark in various civilizations from Spain to China. The Oud first appears in Mesopotamia during the Kassite period (1600- 1150BC) with a small oval body. A larger variety, similar to the instruments present day dimensions, appears at Alaca Huyuk in Anatolia dating from the Hittite New Kingdom (1460-1190BC). Today, the Oud is known as ut or oud in Turkey, laouta in Greece, udi in Africa and barbat in Iran (El-Bacha, 2000). The oud is one of the most popular instruments in Middle Eastern music. Its name derives from the Arabic for 'wood', and this refers to the strips of wood used to make its rounded body. The neck of the oud, which is short in comparison to the body, has no frets and this contributes to its unique sound. The most common string combination is five pairs of strings tuned in unison and a single bass string, although up to thirteen strings may be found. Strings are generally made of nylon or gut, and are plucked with a plectrum known as a risha or mizrap. Another distinctive feature of the oud is its head, with the tuning pegs bent back at an angle to the neck. According to Khalife, the oud used in the Arab world is slightly different to that found in Turkey, Armenia and Greece. Different tunings are used and the Turkish-style oud has a brighter tone than its Arab counterpart. The European lute is a descendant of the oud, from which it takes its name (al-oud). The charm of the oud (fretless lute), especially as a solo instrument, has gained increasing recognition in the 20th century. It is indispensable to refer to the art of the taqsim in order to speak of the essence of the oud. The taqsim is an improvisation which presents various...
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