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Author: Subject: Traditional songs to learn?
Oud Maniac

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[*] posted on 10-20-2019 at 06:40 AM
Traditional songs to learn?

Aside from playing the Oud, I am also involved in the academic study of religions, in which I have specialized primarily in Islam and the "Muslim world" (and the various forms it has taken throughout history).

I have found great interest in the different musical cultures and expressions that appeared, especially in al-Andalus and Baghdad. As would be expected, certain names are recurring and significant: Ziryab, Ibn Misjah, al-Mawsili and even philosophers like Ibn Bajja.

My question then is as follows: Being an Oud player, I would be highly interested to know if there are any surviving pieces of music composed by some of these individuals (or in medieval Spain, North Africa, Levant generally) that are available today? I know that music at that point was mostly transmitted orally and started to be written down much later, but I was wondering if any of you know of any good examples or sources that can lead me there?

All the best,
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Oud Junkie

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[*] posted on 10-21-2019 at 05:16 AM

This site is vast, and apparently has some tunes composed by Al-Farabi.

I have no idea how this is possible, or if it is even for real, or if there is another composer names Farabi. I would love to know more if anyone has knowledge of it.


It's turkish notation so it needs to be transposed for Arabic playing.

See also: https://www.facebook.com/turkishmusicfornonturks/posts/1267271983446...

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Oud Junkie

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[*] posted on 10-21-2019 at 07:34 AM

Doubt about the pieces ascribed to al-Farabi is fully warranted; for various historical reasons they could not have been composed by him. There has been a similar misattribution of musical pieces composed in the sixteenth century to Abdülkadir Meragi (d. 1435), designed to enhance the stature constructed for him as the founder of Turkish music.

The short answer to Filip's question is that no musical pieces that predate the sixteenth century have actually survived. While the region produced over the centuries numerous works on music theory, performance practice, musical genres, music therapy, poetry that was set to music, etc., these lack notations of songs or instrumental pieces. Two large anthologies of notations compiled in Istanbul by accomplished musicians are the first to provide a view of an actual premodern repertoire, in this case that of a major imperial center that had widespread influence on the music culture of the region. They include a small number of pieces from the sixteenth century and an impressive corpus of seventeenth-century compositions that were performed in the Ottoman court as well as outside it. One anthology was put together by Ali Ufki (or Ufuki) in the mid-seventeenth century and includes 219 instrumental pieces as well as many vocal ones. The other collection was assembled around 1700 by Demetrius Cantemir and includes 352 instrumental pieces (peşrevs and semais). Many of the pieces from these collections have now been recorded, and Cantemir's notations were transcribed in a volume published by Owen Wright. There is a lot of lovely music there to enjoy playing, in a variety of maqams, rhythms, and musical forms.
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Oud Junkie

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[*] posted on 10-21-2019 at 11:57 PM

Feldman's "Music of the Ottoman Court" (only available in libraries) covers a lot of this, particularly the Mevlevi influences.

The folk hymns of the Bektashi and Yarsani might be older, but it's hard to see how you could do more than speculate.

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Oud Junkie

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[*] posted on 10-22-2019 at 10:51 AM

In the Moroccan, Algerian, and Tunisian "Andalusian" music tradition, there is a whole repertoire that is claimed to be 800-1000 years old. It is an oral tradition with an extensive musical and sung repertoire that is 100s of hours long. Example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgOY3V0ByJs


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