All About Oud Instrument

A musical instrument with a big stomach, a brief and curved handle, a beam and a plectrum. Its curved back is made of 19 or 21 boards in the shape of a circle. The body is hollow. In the midst of the front section called the chest, there are small cavities on the sides called “roses”.

Oud instrument (written as “ud” in Turkish) is the ancestor of the European lute, name of which derives from “al-ud”. It is not a native Turkish instrument but it has been played in Anatolia for not less than 5 centuries. Besides, within the history, the oud has been performed by a number of civilizations in Central Asia, Mesopotamia, Iran, Arabia. Accordingly, there are several types of ouds besides Turkish oud. The oud instrument occupies an excellent place in Turkish Art Music, Turkish city music (in fasil orchestras) and in arabesk music. Oud has been known from the documents and oral tradition as the king, sultan or emir of musical instruments.

History of Oud

In some sources, it is said that Farabi invented the oud, however long before Farabi, there are oud and related instruments in miniatures and reliefs. The main reason why Farabi is perceived as an inventor is that he is a musician who has mastered the oud and the tuning system he delivered to the oud. Farabi, who was one of those who gave the most comprehensive information about the oud in his period, added the fifth string to the oud, which was a four-string instrument until that time. About the oud, Ibn Sina (980/1037) from Farabi says in his book Kitabu’ş Şifa that it is one of the most well-known instruments. Tells technical information corresponding to chords and pitches with figures. While musical instruments have been mentioned in the Ikhwan-i Safa tracts within the 10th century, it was acknowledged that the most lovely of these was the oud.

The frets on the handle of the oud, preserved within the Farabi interval, had been abandoned towards the end of the 10th century. The oud was beforehand performed with a wooden plectrum. The well-known Andalusian musician Ziryab (eleventh century) replaced it with a plectrum made of eagle feather. At the moment, plectrums made of versatile plastic are usually used.

The oud instrument made its way to Europe by Spain. Within the 13th century, the crusaders introduced it back to Europe, and in time, it became the lute. That’s why lute takes its name after the oud (‘le ut’ in old French), however it’s been added different features from oud, like frets.

The oud, also which turned the center of attention within the Ottoman palace in the 15th century, gained an irreplaceable value that the general public started to use in classical Turkish music within the nineteenth century.

Oud instrument has a large soundbox connected to a short neck. The instrument has a pear-shaped body which is a deep, striped bowl made from lightweight wood. The wood must be light because the bowl is supposed to reverberate when it is struck. The soundboard, the entrance part of the body, comprises one or , generally three sound holes. These sound holes may be oval or they can be ornamented relying on the lands they’re performed on. There’s a piece of fish-skin or leather between the bridge and the sound gap with a view to protect the belly from the strokes of the plectrum. The bowl of the oud is formed by thin woods or ribs bent over a mold. The number of the ribs varies from sixteen to 21. The tuning pegs of the oud are screwed to the pegbox.

The quality of the material used within the making of the oudis important. The more the material is diverse, the higher it sounds. A high-quality oud’s face is made from spruce. The tuning pegs and fingerboard are constructed from ebony. Maple, walnut, palisander and mahogany are used for the bowl.

The oud doesn’t have any normal measurement or number of strings. Yet usually, all the types of ouds have eleven gut strings which are organized in 5 double-programs with a sixth, single bass string. Oud is played with a plectrum. Its fretless neck permits the instrument to generate any intervals or microtones particular to the Middle Japanese music. Oud instrument is suitable for you to enjoy Turkish, Iran or Arab music by taking part in makams/maqamat.

Oudis played according to 2 schools of performance. The primary is “Ottoman” school and it accepts as precept the ornamentation of the sound, produced by delicate glissandos or the fingers and slight vibratos. The second approach is Egyptian approach, according to which the quantity is amplified by firm strokes of the plectrum, which makes strings resonate. This type requires another kind of virtuosity.

There are essentially six types of oud when they are considered according to their origin. Those types of oud largely differ of their timbre and there are small size differences between them.

Arabic oud is probably the most known oud instrument type and possibly the preferred because of its romantic, rich and deep sound. It is heavier and slightly bigger evaluating to Turkish ouds. Turkish ouds are employed in Turkey and Greece. They have a more treble sound. Syrian oud, which is a sub-type of Arabic oud generates a number of overtones. Iraqi ouds may also be categorised under Arabic ouds. Its strings are tied to the bottom of the instrument. Because of this characteristic, it is said that it has a floating bridge. Iranian oud, which can be called Barbat is more distinct and on account of its shape, it has a bass, deep, Persian sound.

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