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MoH
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[*] posted on 6-7-2020 at 05:04 PM
Simon Shaheen Ornament Question


I had a question about a technique that Simon Shaheen and other Palestinian players seem to use a lot. I've been trying to learn it for a while, but I want to make sure I actually understand how to do it. It's this quick 4 note (I think) ornament, one clear example of which can be seen here with him and the kid he's teaching.

https://youtu.be/74lXYhxSUpc?t=3110

I've gone through several videos of him and other players doing this and slowed them down to try to understand how it's done. From my understanding, the ornament is 4 notes, where the first note (in this case F) is not plucked, but the next 3 (E half flat, D, E half flat) are. It seems like the risha doesn't start moving until the second note, and then goes down up down very quickly. Is that what's happening?

He also does it at the beginning of Al Qantara, but it's a little faster:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyNXeCfPB2U

Any help would be appreciated.
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Jody Stecher
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[*] posted on 6-7-2020 at 07:42 PM


In the lower right hand corner of the youtube window is a symbol that looks like a gear or a flower. Click on it and you will see how you can slow down the video to half or even a quarter of full speed. Then you can see how it is being done. My suggestion is to think of it as a five note sequence. What you are calling the first note is really the second note of the "operation". First a note is plucked. Then a higher pitch is gotten by another finger by bringing it down hard on the fingerboard while the first note is still vibrating. The remaining notes can be gotten in one, two, or three strokes, each way giving a different feel.
I hope I haven't made the situation even more muddy or confusing.
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[*] posted on 6-7-2020 at 07:53 PM


Not at all, I think you just explained what I thought was going on more clearly and explicitly.

And I did use the playback speed function on YouTube; that's what I meant when I said I slowed the videos down.
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[*] posted on 6-7-2020 at 09:32 PM


Quote: Originally posted by MoH  
Not at all, I think you just explained what I thought was going on more clearly and explicitly.

And I did use the playback speed function on YouTube; that's what I meant when I said I slowed the videos down.


whoops! you *did* say that and I missed it. Anyway, if I helped a little I'm glad. This is an ornament found in pretty much all music but I think it sounds especially good in Arabic music played on the oud.
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[*] posted on 6-8-2020 at 01:09 PM


Hi MoH
BTW, it's a classic orinental ornament, not only palistinian (sumbadi, qasabji...do it to).
I put a video where I tried to play it slowly .
- The first one (1sec) the way oustad simon played it (in my opinion) with 4 notes as you sad, but like 'rash'
- at 4 sec : I tried to play the notes slowly
- at 9 sec : other version : starting richi up
- at 21 : other version that I use and I have many time heard (other charqi players) : you play it with left hand.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rXpdnaSIjE

Hope it helps





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MoH
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[*] posted on 6-8-2020 at 02:26 PM


Thank you very much. I really appreciate you taking the time to record and upload this specific thing.

And I should've guessed it was a more common technique, I just hear it very often with Palestinian players.

One question, though. It seems like Simon Shaheen does it, he ends on a down stroke, so I thought it was: left hand hammers on F, then quick rash for the final 3 notes with the risha, instead of a 4 note rash. Is this not how it seemed to you?
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[*] posted on 6-8-2020 at 03:16 PM


You are welcome,
For your last question, He seems finishing down the 4 notes rash, but you know, it depends on your rash speed : you can end it up (as I did it on my video to simplify) or down as Simon did it because he did rash faster. For me, it's better to consider that all the four notes are at the same speed, even the F is slightly longer than the others. very very slight.




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Brian Prunka
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[*] posted on 6-9-2020 at 09:54 AM


Hey MoH!

There are, as Jody and Khalil noted, many ways to play this particular ornament. The way that Simon is doing it here seems to me to be this:

Down on F, up on sikah, pull off to D, down on sikah. The starting sikah is obviously down.

I'll record a video demonstrating a few ways and some exercises for getting it up to speed.

The same sequence of notes is often played with no pause after the first sikah note, so that it is all one turn.
There are many variations on the turn, both in how you pick, and whether it is a full turn (EFEDE) or half turn (FEDE or DEFE). It can also just be a neighbor tone (EFE or EDE). There are also ways of 'faking' the turn that you hear from old school players like Qasabgi and Sounbati, where you create a similar effect with the right hand.





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[*] posted on 6-9-2020 at 01:04 PM


That would be really great, Brian! I've gotten fairly comfortable with the first two ways Khalil showed, where it's all risha, but am having a harder time with any variations that include a hammer on or pull off. It's also interesting that we all have differing views about how it was done in the original video.
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[*] posted on 6-9-2020 at 03:12 PM


I made a video, with the examples and 4 exercises to work up to it—I'll post it tonight or tomorrow when I get a chance. While going over the video, I realized there are actually two slightly different ways I do it. In addition to the one above (up on E, pull off on D), you can also do pull off on E, up on D, so:
F down, pull off to E, up D, down E.

This might be closer to what Simon is doing in the video, but they are very similar and I'm not even sure he could tell you which one he is doing.

As Khalil noted, you can also do a simpler version where most of the work is done with the left hand.





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SamirCanada
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[*] posted on 6-9-2020 at 07:26 PM


Khalil, that was so nice of you to record that. MoH, I would say that's the way to break it down and learn new techniques. Slow it down and break it up. Play it back and slowly improve the speed.

Khalil, when the covid thing is done, let's get together and play some oud!




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[*] posted on 6-10-2020 at 05:46 AM


Thank you Samir, I'm optimistic that we will play oud this summer :)



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[*] posted on 6-10-2020 at 08:54 AM


Quote: Originally posted by MoH  
That would be really great, Brian! I've gotten fairly comfortable with the first two ways Khalil showed, where it's all risha, but am having a harder time with any variations that include a hammer on or pull off. It's also interesting that we all have differing views about how it was done in the original video.


So I posted a video here:
https://youtu.be/HIJSj4yXRQ4

I go through the "easy" way to play it, which is mostly pull-offs, and then the two versions that are mostly picked.

A piece of advice about pull-offs and hammer ons: make sure that you practice them slowly and make them perfectly even rhythmically. This will aid in making them smooth when played at full speed. Pull-offs could be the subject of an entire video on their own—maybe I'll do that next!

One observation—Simon clearly both starts and ends with a down stroke in the original video you posted. While Khalil's first demonstration (down - down/up/down/up) is a perfectly valid way to play it and worthwhile in its own right, I feel reasonably confident it's not the version Simon is using here. If I had to lay money on it, I'd say Simon is doing down - down/pull/up/down.

Definitely one thing to take away from this—there are a lot of different ways to play it! I don't think any are necessarily "better" or "worse" ways, they just have slightly different flavors.






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[*] posted on 6-10-2020 at 09:55 AM


Hello Brian,
Good demonstration! well done, you took the time to explain more in details, which is very good.
To put it clear for people (not familiar or beginners) learning this short technic, Yes I agree with you on the simon version, when I said that he did it with fast 'rash’ and finishing it down, that what I meant.

BTW Unfortunately, there is no good lessons explaining these musical patterns (like packages) that we find in Arabic, turkish, andaloussian musics… , maybe we (many folks of the Forum can do it) could start a page giving a technics….and versions... ? this is one of my lessons that I give to some of intermediate players who ask me to help them to improve their technics: learning 10 to 20 patterns that we find in samai, longa, taqssim...

Regards !

Khalil




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[*] posted on 6-10-2020 at 10:35 AM


Quote: Originally posted by Khalil_Oud  
Hello Brian,
Good demonstration! well done, you took the time to explain more in details, which is very good.
To put it clear for people (not familiar or beginners) learning this short technic, Yes I agree with you on the simon version, when I said that he did it with fast 'rash’ and finishing it down, that what I meant.

BTW Unfortunately, there is no good lessons explaining these musical patterns (like packages) that we find in Arabic, turkish, andaloussian musics… , maybe we (many folks of the Forum can do it) could start a page giving a technics….and versions... ? this is one of my lessons that I give to some of intermediate players who ask me to help them to improve their technics: learning 10 to 20 patterns that we find in samai, longa, taqssim...

Regards !

Khalil


Thank you, Khalil! Yes, I agree there are not a lot of good resources explaining these kinds of techniques, especially for those who don't speak Arabic. Hopefully some people will find this helpful.

I think of the ornamentation as kind of like an accent in language, each region has some different ways, or even each player has a slightly different "pronunciation" of the same idea. It's such a rich part of the music.
I have always been amazed listening to Simon how he will play the repeated sections of the Sama'i differently every time.

I apologize if my comment sounded like a disagreement, my point was really the opposite! I think it's valuable that you demonstrated yet another way, and was just trying to clarify the "rash" in regard to MoH's comment ("we all have differing views about how it was done in the original video"). I mainly wanted to emphasize that you had actually demonstrated another version that was slightly different, in addition to the ones I covered.





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[*] posted on 6-10-2020 at 10:46 AM


Wow. I don't know if there's another forum on the internet where I could post a simple question and get multiple written and recorded explanations. I really appreciate all you guys' help, and I'm sure I can master this now.
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[*] posted on 6-10-2020 at 01:16 PM


Brian, I agree about your statement : ponctuation... absolutely !
There is really no problem, I understoud everything, thank you to precise it, I beleive in adage: the diversity enriches the whole...
You are right about the multitude of Simon playing version of one piece... I love to listen to his playing !

For MoH, because you asked a good question :)




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[*] posted on 6-28-2020 at 10:25 AM


You can see/hear Simon doing the ornament a number of times in the first minute of this video. All of the videos from this session are well worth studying since they feature solo oud and very clear video in most sections so you can see what the right hand is doing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqW1Xv5Pinc
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