Mike's Oud Forums
Not logged in [Login - Register]
Go To Bottom

Printable Version  
Author: Subject: Touching up an original Sama'i... Question about modulation
nassic_zhd
Oud Admirer
*




Posts: 5
Registered: 11-8-2018
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 5-16-2020 at 05:20 AM
Touching up an original Sama'i... Question about modulation


Hello all, I'm in the process of writing a Sama'i for oud - I'm a westerner, a hobbyist, and an amateur, so I'm not entirely sure what I'm doing but I've had fun and I think I can call it more or less complete.

There's one thing I'm dithering over - in the third verse, there's a phrase that repeats at bars 23-26 and 31-34. The song is based in Rast, but in this verse it modulates to Nairuz. I want this repeated phrase to modulate back to Rast again and have the A natural in bars 23 and 31. To me it sounds nice like this, but I'm worried it might sound like too much changing between different maqams to more experienced ears.

Besides that, I wanted to ask what sort of impression this Sama'i gives you? Do the modulations and rhythms look sensible? Does anything in particular look bizarre or out-of-place? Like I said, I'm quite the amateur with Arabic music and Arabic music theory so help from someone who knows this stuff better than me would be much appreciated :)

EDIT: Just noticed I forgot some accidentals... the Es in Verse 2 should all be E natural. It's Hijazkar.

MuseScore3_AMb4Fl3ywc.png - 159kB

View user's profile View All Posts By User
Jody Stecher
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 1170
Registered: 11-5-2011
Location: California
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 5-16-2020 at 08:49 AM


Well.... since you asked..... let me begin by saying I applaud efforts at composition. It's an excellent way to improve one's musical understanding. And first efforts (if that's what this is) are likely to sound like first efforts. Nothing wrong in that. One must begin somewhere.

My impression is that there are elements that are "outlandish". Characterizing parts as Intro, verse, and chorus seems strange. Normally sama'i is a genre of instrumental music, not a vocal genre, and these are labels for parts of songs. I also found it particularly odd that in your message you have called your composition a "song". If it's a song, what are the words? That said, I would love to hear a well-conceived and well-realized actual song (in Arabic or any other language) that is structured like a sama'i. Why not?

I also have the impression that some of the musical phrases might be based on things you might have read about maqam Rast, and about other maqamat, rather than based on listening to how Rast (etc) is sung and played.

These are impressions, not accusations. I hope my comments are helpful, not hurtful.

View user's profile View All Posts By User
Brian Prunka
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 2584
Registered: 1-30-2004
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Member Is Offline

Mood: Stringish

[*] posted on 5-16-2020 at 09:56 AM


Quote: Originally posted by nassic_zhd  
Hello all, I'm in the process of writing a Sama'i for oud - I'm a westerner, a hobbyist, and an amateur, so I'm not entirely sure what I'm doing but I've had fun and I think I can call it more or less complete.

There's one thing I'm dithering over - in the third verse, there's a phrase that repeats at bars 23-26 and 31-34. The song is based in Rast, but in this verse it modulates to Nairuz. I want this repeated phrase to modulate back to Rast again and have the A natural in bars 23 and 31. To me it sounds nice like this, but I'm worried it might sound like too much changing between different maqams to more experienced ears.

Besides that, I wanted to ask what sort of impression this Sama'i gives you? Do the modulations and rhythms look sensible? Does anything in particular look bizarre or out-of-place? Like I said, I'm quite the amateur with Arabic music and Arabic music theory so help from someone who knows this stuff better than me would be much appreciated :)

EDIT: Just noticed I forgot some accidentals... the Es in Verse 2 should all be E natural. It's Hijazkar.





Hi, nassic_zhd!
Like Jody, I support your efforts here and encourage your continued interest in Arabic music.

First, I'd like to say that writing an authentic Sama'i is rather difficult and requires a lot of experience with maqam music and the Sama'i form. I've been playing Arabic music for about 20 years, am (I think) a reasonably accomplished composer and still find it challenging to write a good sama'i.

So please don't be discouraged by the following observations/suggestions. It's great that you're asking for advice and want to learn. We are all learning (I hope).
If I've learned one thing as a composer, the most important thing is to write music, and keep trying. Every composer I know has thrown out a significant portion of what they've written. In the early stages (or when working on a new approach), it may be 90 or even 100% of your compositions are destined for the rubbish bin. As long as you learned something from the process, it was a success, because your next attempt will be better.


You actually followed the structure of the sama'i okay, but some notes:

1- The "chorus" is called a "taslim," or if you want to use English terms, a "refrain." I know it may seem pedantic, but since most Arabic music is vocal, it is wise to use the correct terms when referring to instrumental music. The "intro" and "verses" are called "khanat" (pl.) and "khana" (sing.) or "hane" if you are using Turkish terms. So it would be Khana 1, Taslim, Khana 2, Khana 3, Khana 4.

2- many of your modulations are "nonstandard" to put it mildly. Rather than get into detailed analysis, I'll just say that you clearly need to spend a lot more time listening to and studying this music in order to get a sense of how modulation works in maqam music.

3- The structure of the sama'i regarding modulation is roughly as follows (precise details vary by maqam, but this is pretty typical, and is true for Rast).

Khana 1 & Taslim: exposition of the basic maqam. This can include any accidentals/modulations that are considered part of the core character of the maqam
Khana 2: modulation focusing on the dominant. The dominant varies by maqam, in Rast it's the 5th, but in other maqamat it may be the 4th, 3rd, or 6th.
Khana 3: modulation focused around the octave.
Khana 4: written in another meter, return to the basic maqam, can explore other common modulations. Sometimes this is almost like a freestanding composition but should begin and end with the basic maqam.

Form:
Khana 1
Taslim
Khana 2
Taslim
Khana 3
Taslim
Khana 4
(Taslim optional)

Any section can be repeated.

I'd suggest at the very least learning a couple of standard sama'is and songs in Rast to get a better sense of what rast "is".

4- Some of your phrases suggest that you may not be completely comfortable with the phrasing in the 10/8 rhythm. While not "wrong", they suggest that you were maybe not hearing it intuitively yet.


That said, there are clearly some nice ideas here and at least some familiarity with the form and structure of the music. The melodies are largely within the realm of plausible for the style (and believe me, I've been in many situations where I'm handed an oud part that made me wonder if the composer had ever heard an oud). It strikes me as an excellent start.

If I was to offer a couple of suggestion for going forward:
1- each khana is in a different maqam here. Maybe take your favorite phrase from each and try writing a sama'i in each maqam (Rast, Nahawand, Hijazkar). Nairuz is very challenging...I'd recommend starting with the others. I recently wrote a sama'i Nairuz actually! I worked on it for - no kidding - years. I'd have to check but I'd guess 6 years, on and off, writing, revising, throwing stuff out (even some ideas I really liked but just didn't wind up fitting).

2- sama'is don't typically change the root maqam (they can but it's a bit less common and takes more skill). Normally they change to a new jins or maqam at the dominant and octave. Parts of your khana 2 and 3 melodies would work quite well in this context if you transposed them to different starting notes; I'd encourage experimenting with trying them on G at least.




View user's profile Visit user's homepage View All Posts By User

  Go To Top

Powered by XMB
XMB Forum Software © 2001-2011 The XMB Group