Mike's Oud Forums

purpose of oud in a band

avi4527 - 6-24-2020 at 08:37 PM

hi guys
love all the info on this website thank you all for everything
I bought an oud 3 months ago and am slowly getting the hang of it. How long would you say it would take me to A) Get to a point where I could play in a band, B) Master the oud?
Also I was very curious... the oud is very powerful when the focus is on it but when its in a band it sort of fades behind everything. Whats the purpose of the oud in such a situation
Thanks again guys

majnuunNavid - 6-24-2020 at 09:22 PM

1. It depends on your music background already, but I would say in 1-4 years you could play in a band.

2. I've been studying the Oud seriously since 2003, teaching Oud since 2013. I'm still working on Mastering the OUd.

What kind of band do you mean?

The traditional takht tends to have one of each instrument. The Oud lends a percussive and melodic balance to the ensemble. The Oud is also the most reliable for tuning and getting the right intonation. Nay, Qanun, have limitations. The Oud is the foundation and brings everything together in my opinion. It's the connection between percussion and melody.

There's nothing worse than an otherwise accomplished solo violinist playing a beautiful tune with great ornaments and yet I still can't feel the beat because they forget to groove.

You can achieve such rich sounds with only three instruments, Oud, percussion, and a wind, bowed, or qanun instrument. Some of my favourite records feature sparse instrumentation. Oud, double bass, percussion. or Oud, qanun, percussion, or Oud, Nay, percussion. That's the magic.

A chamber ensemble is similar to a takht, but it's a western term and so you can have a lot of variation and modern additions.

I always wonder why we need to always have so many violins. It's the same in so many situations... orchestra... chamber... Is not one enough? A whole string section is used to play the same note in different octaves? Yeah it sounds great, but at the cost of overpowering everything else.

I'll take this opportunity to plug a fellow Iranian musician's new album: Oud, Kamanche, Percussion

Another album, which I think is an example of instrumentation and mix perfection:
Nizar Rohana's Sard - Oud Qanun, Double Bass, Percussion

Instrumentation and mix is fantastic! This is where the Oud shines. Not behind 50 violins. If an ensemble, band, or orchestra has to go out of their way to balance everything with a super sound engineer then you've already lost touch with good music. It's just jacking off.

avi4527 - 6-25-2020 at 05:50 AM

Thank you Navid
Your website is fantastic by the way hope it continues to flourish
So I was thinking if I get myself on the oud and 2 friends, one on darbuka and one who is incredible at arabic music on the keyboard to make a band to perform at small functions. Although my only concern was perhaps the guy with the keyboard could literally do everything himself? He wouldn't need me on the oud or my other friend on the darbuka? I'm not saying this with regards to me not getting enough attention haha rather would an oud even be necessary in such a situation?

alim - 6-25-2020 at 09:17 AM

I believe k**b***d is a bad word on this forum, half kidding :) The keyboard (by inself) cannot replace the interplay between a set of musicians (on real instruments). It might work for you if the keyboard player is restricted to playing one sound (qanun, or violin, etc...) and lowers his/her volume. (Also I am avoiding the whole discussion of correct/in-correct intonation). In any case if should be fun playing with others.


avi4527 - 6-25-2020 at 11:03 AM

haha brilliant I was trying to figure out what the word was for a few moments
Thats what I was thinking I just wanted to check with the professionals
Thanks Ali much appreciated

SamirCanada - 6-25-2020 at 11:27 AM

Having played many years in bands (think typical Lebanese wedding bands) with keyboard as a lead. I was over it quickly, especially if the band is focused on doing gigs for money. You may get lucky and find a group of people who you really jive with. That said, the typical restaurant or wedding audience wants loud! Very loud! music to dance too. Not so much to sit down and listen to tarab music all night. You may have an improv solo (taqasim) here and there but for the most part you will play in the background barely audible.

If I was to play in a band again, it would be in a takht or small traditional orchestra and playing real music.

paulO - 6-25-2020 at 03:36 PM

One tip - during sound check (if you're lucky enough to have one) - if the oud's too loud, it's just right !
Good luck, and seriously, loved all the other posts.


avi4527 - 6-26-2020 at 01:29 AM

Thanks guys for all the advice!!

Neuraxial - 6-26-2020 at 01:43 AM

For a great implementation of oud in a band setting, check out Ara Dinkjian -- particularly his work with the Secret Trio and the NY Gypsy All Stars (see Youtube example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vc7fk9_V8k) but also some other albums (An Armenian in America, Hegira) were (electric) piano plays a big part of sound!

avi4527 - 6-26-2020 at 04:13 AM

Will take a look! thank you!