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Author: Subject: What is this descending tremolo technique?
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[*] posted on 12-7-2019 at 11:31 AM
What is this descending tremolo technique?

Can someone explain what exactly is going on in these taqasim?

https://youtu.be/0ZJqwYMupaY?t=254 (4:14)

https://youtu.be/08DcuUp7L3Q?t=31 (31 s)

I think they're done slightly differently in each video, but to me it seems like they're starting on F, then playing tremolo while going down to D, then maybe playing E flat/ half flat during the tremolo. I've tried to replicate it, but I'm thinking I'm not actually understanding what's going on. Any advice?
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Jody Stecher
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[*] posted on 12-7-2019 at 01:26 PM

Yes! I have advice. In the lower right hand corner of the youtube rectangle is a series of symbols. The first one (left-most) looks like a gear or a flower. Click on that and then select Playback Speed and then Select 25%. Play back the passage as I just now did and you will immediately understand what is being played and how it is being done— as I just now did. It's also instructive to hear and watch at 50% and 75% speed.
Yes, the two videos show the same technique being applied a bit differently. In the first video two "pull-offs" from the index finger to the open string are followed by a tremolo of four strokes. In the second video a more prolonged tremolo precedes a single pull-off.
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Brian Prunka
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[*] posted on 12-7-2019 at 06:57 PM

So in the first one, he plays
F Eb D Eb--- D C

Essentially, I would think of this as a turn on Eb (F Eb D Eb) going into a tremolo on Eb, ending with a Eb D C figure that is super common in oud taqasim. The crucial thing here is that the last D is on an upstroke (or a pull-off—both ways are prevalent).

The turn itself can be articulated multiple ways:

F Eb D Eb (all picked, D U D U or U D U D, depending on the rhythmic placement/emphasis)
F (Eb) D Eb (D P U D)
F (Eb D) Eb (D P P D)
F Eb (D) Eb (D U P D)

P=pull off

There are other options but those are the main ones for that particular turn. But really you could substitute any version of the turn there:

Eb F Eb
Eb F Eb D Eb
D Eb F Eb
Eb D F Eb

Are all legitimate options there.

In the second example, the target is D, not C. Otherwise it is similar, except that the final D is played with a pull off instead of picked (a very common technique when the target note is an open string).

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