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Author: Subject: Your eyes can deceive you
Lysander
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[*] posted on 6-1-2014 at 04:28 AM
Your eyes can deceive you


Just a note about a minor personal discovery - something which many oud players know about - but which I've only just really got round to.

I have been playing for about ten months now. So recently I have started to ween myself off looking at the instrument fingerboard when playing taksims. For a while I was doing this with success and then I went back to looking at the fingerboard while playing through laziness. Something odd happened. When I went back to looking, a lot of the time I was missing notes because I was relying too much on where I thought the notes 'were'. Not only that, but my style of playing got more restricted and I would play the same patterns over and over again. Things got a little dull.

I have now gone back to playing without looking and there is a noticeable difference. It's very clear to me that the oud is an instrument that should be played with the ears and not with the eyes. I find this a very liberating playing style, and I have even started finding new melodies that I never found before since I am playing a lot more on feel rather than on visuals.

So yes, an interesting discovery, and it's a nice advancement in the way of playing that is enjoyable. I will build on this further in time.
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Doc139
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[*] posted on 6-1-2014 at 04:42 AM


Interesting observation, Lysander, I will have to try out myself, since most of the time I am looking at the fingerboard while playing, just like you. I have like my visual "marks" on the fingerboard where there is the second or third position... But I see your point, we should be more guided by the ears than by the eyes... Probably a problem of us beginners (I play since one and a half year)?
Alexander
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Lysander
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[*] posted on 6-1-2014 at 05:08 AM


This oud was given to me by my father in law. On the day that he gave it to me he said, "don't look at it while playing" which seemed a very difficult prospect, especially for a beginner. Just like how, as a guitarist, you don't need to look at the instrument after a while, the same is true of the oud apart from the fact that sincere creativity seems to rely on not looking at it, esp where taksims are involved. So I kind of held off for a few months until I felt comfortable with doing it. The second and third positions will still be in your mind when you don't look at the fingerboard because those positions are conceptual... you can rely on muscle memory and your ear to get them right.
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hussamd
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[*] posted on 6-1-2014 at 06:11 AM


I can't look at it even if I wanted to :D I agree with you, playing without looking is the natural way to go.
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John Erlich
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[*] posted on 6-2-2014 at 12:16 PM


Proper positioning of the guitar and oud is different. If you are holding the oud properly, you really can't see the fingerboad in the same way you can see a guitar fretboard. I find that tilting the oud "backward" so that I can see the fingerboard actually messes up my body mechanics, and, if I do that, it actually tends to make my right (picking) arm sore. That being said, I still sometimes look "sideways" at my fingers when I play up the neck, to help me get my finger placement, which is harder where the notes are closer together.
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[*] posted on 6-3-2014 at 04:44 AM


This is definitely something I discovered as well. When I was constantly looking at where my fingers were I never got the instrument to sound the way I wanted. But as soon as I just closed my eyes and went 100% with my ears and feeling, the quality of my playing increased immediately.

This is the first and most important advice I give people who are getting into the Oud. The instrument can't be played with your eyes, only your ears and your soul :)
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Danielo
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[*] posted on 6-3-2014 at 04:47 AM


Interesting discussion !


I actually like to play from time to time in complete darkness - I think everyone should try !

Apart from some mistakes up the fingerboard, I have the feeling that my playing is better...


Dan
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John Erlich
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[*] posted on 6-3-2014 at 08:34 AM


Quote: Originally posted by Danielo  
Interesting discussion !


I actually like to play from time to time in complete darkness - I think everyone should try !

Apart from some mistakes up the fingerboard, I have the feeling that my playing is better...


Dan


Great idea, Dan!
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hans
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[*] posted on 7-14-2014 at 03:19 AM


I started out not looking at the fingerboard because it seemed the right way to play and i found that looking distracted me from listening. But later i got frustrated because i'm able to do some really advanced playing on the electric guitar and having to find the notes really held me back, especially in the higher positions. I knew that the decoration pattern on the neck could help me "see" the notes, but when i started looking at it i found that the pattern was actually designed to show you some key positions. Now it helps me immensely with my playing, and i hope that this way i'll be able to advance quickly. I also hope that over time the finger positions will simply be engrained into my finger's memory so i won't have to look anymore.
I also confessed my sins to my teacher, but he said i was't cheating at all ;).
Sorry if this complicates the general concensus of the thread
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Marcus
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[*] posted on 7-14-2014 at 03:37 AM



Quote:

It's very clear to me that the oud is an instrument that should be played with the ears



Really, you play with the ears?I`m very curious to see this!!!Can you post a pic of you, playing with the ears?
I always use my fingers, but Im open for new things!:D

No offense,

Marcus




Playing the oud is like feeding my soul with peace
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[*] posted on 7-14-2014 at 04:54 AM


People not to sound harsh but closing your eyes or not looking at the fingerboard while playing is not going to make your playing better or worse so therefore do one over the other. One may inspire you in the moment but feel the freedom to go back and forth. Don't restrict yourself.

Exhibit A:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkEieHr1uiE

One of the grand masters of the ud from the 20th Century. Scroll to 5 minutes. He's deep and watching his hand.

Exhibit B:
Udi Hrant. Couldn't see his hands.

Exhibit C:
Any Turkish style tanbur player. They have to watch their hands for finger placement. Are they any less expressive?

Adam
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Jack_Campin
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[*] posted on 7-14-2014 at 01:04 PM


This project seems interesting:

http://www.muziekpublique.be/news/cd-label-127/blindnote-147/?lang=...

Both the players and the audience in darkness.




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John Erlich
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[*] posted on 7-14-2014 at 04:09 PM


I don't think that an oud/ud player watching his or her fingering hand is always bad, it and of itself. However, as a teacher, I think it's a bad habit, especially for a beginner, because watching one's fingering hand encourages the oudist to tilt the instrument back, to make it easier to see the fingerboard, instead of holding the instrument straight up and down, which is more mechanically efficient and ergonomic.
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Lysander
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[*] posted on 7-15-2014 at 02:38 AM


Quote: Originally posted by John Erlich  
I don't think that an oud/ud player watching his or her fingering hand is always bad, it and of itself. However, as a teacher, I think it's a bad habit, especially for a beginner, because watching one's fingering hand encourages the oudist to tilt the instrument back, to make it easier to see the fingerboard, instead of holding the instrument straight up and down, which is more mechanically efficient and ergonomic.


I agree with Adam in that you don't have to look away ALL the time, but certainly most of the time. There are ocassions when you have to look to orientate yourself. I have also noticed that it's a bad habit to look too often because the instrument gets tilted back at a 70 degree angle, which isn't too bad, but the oud is more intuitive and holding it at 90 degrees and 'feeling' it is probably better.
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[*] posted on 7-15-2014 at 09:23 PM


Quote: Originally posted by Lysander  
Quote: Originally posted by John Erlich  
I don't think that an oud/ud player watching his or her fingering hand is always bad, it and of itself. However, as a teacher, I think it's a bad habit, especially for a beginner, because watching one's fingering hand encourages the oudist to tilt the instrument back, to make it easier to see the fingerboard, instead of holding the instrument straight up and down, which is more mechanically efficient and ergonomic.


I agree with Adam in that you don't have to look away ALL the time, but certainly most of the time. There are ocassions when you have to look to orientate yourself. I have also noticed that it's a bad habit to look too often because the instrument gets tilted back at a 70 degree angle, which isn't too bad, but the oud is more intuitive and holding it at 90 degrees and 'feeling' it is probably better.


I generally do look to check my positioning when I play notes up the neck, above the 5th or 6th position or so (i.e., above F on the 1st string, with an open Arabic tuning to C).
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[*] posted on 7-28-2014 at 08:58 AM


I've been playing since 2008 but have been cheating recently.

A while back I got a Godin Multioud that has the 5th and 7th "frets" marked on the fingerboard. I found it was really helpful to have a reference on the fingerboard. It made learning Longa Riad a lot easier and it's caused me to relax a bit more in my playing.

I've since gone and put dots on my other ouds and it's been positive. Since your view will get a little distored it's not like I'm using them as anything other than a visual reference for my fingers... But it has helped my intonation a bit and it makes playing a lot more relaxing.

Chris




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[*] posted on 7-29-2014 at 12:25 AM


Quote: Originally posted by Christian1095  
I've been playing since 2008 but have been cheating recently.

A while back I got a Godin Multioud that has the 5th and 7th "frets" marked on the fingerboard. I found it was really helpful to have a reference on the fingerboard. It made learning Longa Riad a lot easier and it's caused me to relax a bit more in my playing.

I've since gone and put dots on my other ouds and it's been positive. Since your view will get a little distored it's not like I'm using them as anything other than a visual reference for my fingers... But it has helped my intonation a bit and it makes playing a lot more relaxing.

Chris


Weirdly enough my oud has a mark/blemish exactly where the third position is. I find this extremely useful for playing bottom E or A. It's a bad habit I know since I'll be going to Turkey in a few weeks and using other peoples' instruments which won't have any marks for orientation, but it's too useful at the moment. If you miss that lower drone by a few cents it can really mess with the effect of a piece.
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