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Author: Subject: Oud is alive
Lysander
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[*] posted on 11-28-2013 at 06:14 AM
Oud is alive


Now this might come across as something of a ridiculous topic, so please bear with me. This is not something to do with musical technicality, but more with the spiritual side of the oud itself and oud music.

Recently I have come to think of the oud as having some kind of presence of its own. Like it has its own 'being'. When you look at an oud, do you not see limitless potential, ability, discovery, and does the oud not communicate in some ways with us when playing, either as players or as listeners? Being an organic wooden instrument it even takes in the outside atmosphere [or expels it] just as it takes in the notes played on it, and over time the vibrations of these notes will effect the wood too. Additionally oud music can have a highly spiritual side to it, and sometimes playing it can take you, briefly to 'another place'.

So in this way, do you sometimes feel that the oud has a presence all of its own and has this concept been addressed before?
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hartun
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[*] posted on 11-28-2013 at 06:24 PM


i think this is why ara dinkjian made the CD "Conversations with Manol" where he just takes a Manol oud and plays ...... whatever comes to him and tries to present the qualities of that particular instrument. i think a lot of people think of instruments as kind of having a life of their own. thats why people name their guitar "lucille" and so forth. ive never heard this addressed but certainly the "spiritual" side of oud music has been highly discussed. of course it takes you to another place, thats what music is for. and different music takes you to different places.
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Lysander
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[*] posted on 11-29-2013 at 02:19 AM


Quote: Originally posted by hartun  
ive never heard this addressed but certainly the "spiritual" side of oud music has been highly discussed.


This sounds interesting. Do you have any resources I could look at for this?
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Ararat66
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[*] posted on 11-29-2013 at 09:59 AM


Sure is, posted this a while back - to be sure these ouds are living things



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Leon :)
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NeighborOud
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[*] posted on 11-29-2013 at 10:51 AM


I play various instruments (wind, reeds, strings, membrane...) and I must say that the oud seems in a category of its own. So simple, yet so many possibilities. And it's one we just can't put down once we start playing it.

Some people say that each instrument has tunes stored in it, and it will teach them to you for as long as you are receptive. ;)





François
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hartun
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[*] posted on 11-30-2013 at 11:16 AM


lysander i don't remember where i have read about this. but for example different makams have different moods to them. and in the middle ages they recommended music as a treatment for illness according to certain makams etc. but now that you ask me directly where i have read this i realize that i stated that in an offhand way. i don't think i have actually read anything about the spiritual aspect of the oud and if i did i don't remember where it was. but it depends on what you mean by spiritual. certainly different makams have been described as evoking or expressing different moods. i don't remember where i have read about that but I have. but if you mean spiritual in a more exact sense of the word spiritual, that is, as it is used in a religious type sense, or otherworldly experience....i don't know where you can read about that. i searched the internet and came up with this:

"Taqasim (plural of taqsim, "division, break") is the more advanced form of improvisation in the music of the Middle East.
It represents the purest expression of the maqam music system and requires deep knowledge of its history, theory, practice and spirituality."

http://www.taqasim.net/school/info

i don't know about oud but certainly tanbur has been used in kurdish religious ceremonies, nay has been used in turkish mevlevi religious ceremonies, etc. i.e. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jem_(Alevism)
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hartun
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[*] posted on 11-30-2013 at 11:21 AM


as well as the different modes are used in the armenian, coptic, syriac, and orthodox church they may have insights to the spiritual aspects of near eastern music in general. but this information is probably very hard to find.

i would imagine each school of musicians or culture would have a different take on the spiritual aspects of music. armenian church singers would differ from turkish sufis (mevlevi) and again from kurdish alevi musicians......i would be very suprised to find a unified belief in relation to the spiritual aspects....
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epokhe
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[*] posted on 12-1-2013 at 06:59 PM


this is a great topic, lysander! it makes me think of a french philosopher named maurice merleau-ponty, who was working on a concept called the "chiasm" just before he passed away in 1961. chiasm means "criss-crossing" or "intertwining," and it refers to a process of mutual feedback between our bodies and the objects they encounter in the world. (in this case, a musical instrument.) as you say, we do not simply "use" the oud as a tool for producing musical notes, but the oud also seems to offer certain possibilities, it makes certain demands, it teaches our wrists and fingers to behave in particular ways as we attempt to perform the music. we play the oud only to the extent that the oud interacts with us -- it plays our bodies, and in that sense it is definitely alive! at the same time, what counts as good technique or the right musical notes (i.e. the demands that it makes and the possibilities that it offers) will always be determined by traditions, theories, repertoires, etc, so what the oud teaches us, it has "learned" from other people...and in that sense the oud is also a transmitter of human knowledge, a teacher of the very best kind!
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Ararat66
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[*] posted on 12-2-2013 at 01:49 PM


That is a very nice way of putting things - the tail wags the dog and the dog wags the tail.

Leon
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