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SamirCanada
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[*] posted on 5-9-2005 at 02:08 PM
Question about Um Kulthoum


first off,
I hope everyone is well

I have a question regarding when I play along with Um kulthoum songs it seems like I never nail the notes on the spot. I find it hard to ajust and to find out witch maqam it is in and were on the fingerboard are the notes coresponding.:shrug:
Also I find that most of her songs are transposed of maqam when they are studio recorded and in a 7afleh (with audience) that confuses me.
I had a bit of a bad experience with that. I brought my oud to my girlfriend's relatives and there was a cd of Hazhihi laylati studio version. I tought I could play along because I often play along the 7afleh version. But I quickly found out that it was in a different maqam and I couldnt play along.
This brings me to a different question. I think the studio song is in maqam hijaz kar
I have a really hard time playing this maqam is it because I tune D2 G2 A2 d3 g3 c4
ANybody can help? I find it soo hard to go from D# to E it not natural. thanks Samir
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[*] posted on 5-9-2005 at 02:14 PM


I was often told that sometimes her ensemble would tune higher or lower depending on how her voice and strength was the night of a performance. This may help clarify why certain recordings seem transposed.
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TruePharaoh21
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[*] posted on 5-9-2005 at 02:47 PM


They indeed are transposed. And quite often, they aren't on any real "note," which is to say... for example, not on D or E half flat, but 82% of the way between the two.

I have a program that can change the pitch, so this is what I usually do. If you have questions about certain mp3 recordings that you have, whether it be of Om Kolthoum or otherwise, please let me know... I will try to correct the pitch to the best of my abilities so that you can hit the notes "on the spot," as you say.

TP21




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eliot
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[*] posted on 5-9-2005 at 04:44 PM


To make matters even better, sometimes the recording you get was played back at the wrong speed when they transferred it to tape or CD (since most of her work was recorded to these 16" transcription records that weren't at a standard recording speed).
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TruePharaoh21
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[*] posted on 5-9-2005 at 04:55 PM


Eliot, if I'm not mistaken, there's a recording of Raq el Habib that I have that must be at the wrong speed. In one recording, she sounds quite young, while the other seems to be many years later, though I do believe that they must be the same recording (only difference is speed).

It's funny how they accidentally made the speed faster than it was originally, and now, they do it on purpose!

TP21




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Alan
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[*] posted on 5-9-2005 at 05:25 PM


How about using a capo if the song is transposed up
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[*] posted on 5-9-2005 at 05:48 PM


I think because of recording speed.
Normaly I try to find the lower note of the string violin wich is the G then I tune my oud or my violin.
Some maqams are very rare, or invented by the compuser himself, It's frustrating to deal with that, for example the Sikah baladi is wrong in Arouh Lemin, a sikah baladi transposed on C must contains D quarter flat,E quarter flat,F,G,A quarter flat, B quarter flat and C
However the real song contains sharp E and F !!!
I don't trust the music sheet, I saw in music sheet that the E is quarter flat and the F is quarter high !!!
Almost all the great arabs singers transcriptions are false !! check your self!!
regards
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[*] posted on 5-9-2005 at 06:02 PM


I'd like to give you a friendly bit of information, Alarabi. And please, if the following is already well known to you, I apologize for restating. Now, I'm just starting to look into all of this into a great depth of detail, but they aren't "inventing" maqamat. Upon looking through Scott Marcus' dissertation, I've come to the conclusion that the great composers of the last century were actually greater than we may have anticipated, and they knew some of these rarely used tetrachords. It's very cool.

As for transpositions, I can usually get to about 2 or 3 cents away from 440 Hz, and can therefore learn the song on the generic "right" maqam. Again, let me know which song you all would like to learn. For example, Al Atlal... I can get that to you all by the end of the week on the note that it was originally composed on. The base maqam for it, by the way, is Huzzam. Let me know if this is what you'd like. I'll try to be of as much service to you great people as I can be.

TP21




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[*] posted on 5-9-2005 at 07:14 PM


Thank you truePharaon for your nice replay
I'm stadying the Sikah baladi, and I found at least 5 version or more of this makam !
Mohamed Abdelwahab used a differente sikah baladi, this is the well knowen, if you check maqam world, you l see that they put the Abdelwahab sikah baladi
The G sikah baladi is like a G hijaj kar, but the 1.5 ton intreval is cut to 1 tone, in both hijaz tetrachord.
If you lesten to arooh lemen, try to find what's the note in this sikah baladi and you'll find that's very differente from abdelwahab sikah baladi
Regards
:)
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[*] posted on 5-9-2005 at 07:54 PM


Thanks TP
your so lucky to work with kan zaman btw. I would love to have an esemble like this in ottawa but even with the highest concentration of lebanese in north america it seems no musicians came here:shrug:
anyways thanks for ur help. when you say tune ur oud to 2 or 3 clicks away from 440 do you leave ur tuner at 440 and let the arrow rest 2 3 bars below 440 or just set the tuner to 437-438? Will doing that make the right notes move to the usualy coresponding "spot" it belongs to on the fingerboard? Also do you have a trick to find out what maqam a certainpeice is in?
Many Thanks TP
Samir
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[*] posted on 5-9-2005 at 08:50 PM


Hi true pharon are you afif tayane?
Hi samircanada before you touch the arrow to change the 440 hz you have to konw on wich maqam and wich transposition the music is done.
If don't have music sheet, you can ask poeple that they have worked this music before or you try to lesten and find the lowest note of the violins.
when you are sure that you caught one note, for example G then you use your tuner, start the F sound on your tuner, and click on the arrow, until your F became the same as the G on your music.(I'm speaking about douka rast).
But if you prefer, you don't have to use the tuner, because you lesten a note and you try to tune your string to mach this note. the tuner will help you only to clean the other strings. but the most importante and dangerous action is made by your ear !!!
regards
:)
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[*] posted on 5-9-2005 at 09:27 PM


dont worry my tuner tells me exactly witch note it is so I dont rely entirely on my ear. I dont tune it to a sound it produces I tells me how close I am with a arrow much like you see on amps ecept it tells you how close you are to the note.
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[*] posted on 5-9-2005 at 09:43 PM


My Korg CA 30 tuner works in 2 ways, it produce sounds or it displays a needle.
But don't forget, we are trying first to adapt the frenquency 440 of the tuner itslef !!! your tuner is no good until you change the 440 hz in order to mach to song. You will use only your ear in the first step
regards
;)
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[*] posted on 5-9-2005 at 10:16 PM


Alarabi, no I'm not Afif Taian, though I know him very well and consider him to be a good friend of mine.

I have a few programs that I open up in order to tune it to the right key. First, I have to just figure out the maqam by ear, and then I decide which key is closest, or sounds easiest, or best. When I say "easiest" I do not only mean for the oud, but for the violins and other instruments as well. It is much better for me to learn the song on the key that would be most probably used in an ensemble setting than learning it on a more obscure key.

I put all the songs into 440 Hz (give or take a cent or two), and so it will match with your tuners, guys.

Again, ask and you shall receive. I will try to help in any way that I can for all of you.

TP21




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[*] posted on 5-9-2005 at 11:10 PM


TP I sent you a u2u
Take care bud
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[*] posted on 5-10-2005 at 01:36 AM


When I learn new Umm Kulthum pieces (I play about 25 of them at this point, but you can never know enough!) I make transcriptions before I ever touch the instrument. I don't transcribe from the oud, but from singing/ repeating and finding where in the makam they were, and making extensive use of the half-speed option on a Marantz transcription cassette recorder. The software called "Transcribe" is also really good for the job. I just don't know a simpler way, and don't trust ANY commercially available transcriptions.

But it's important to realize that there are recordings out there where they really did perform in standard Arab tuning and play on odd keys such as Beyati on F; Rast on E, etc. In this case, if you transpose it up to G or down to D, you will never play in a similar fingering to the recording you're learning from. It's important, I think, to imitate the fingering as closely as possible, so that your open strings match the oud player's open strings.

An interesting anecdote about incorrect speed and pitch:
When Scott Marcus was going through living hell trying to get the rights to use an EXCERPT of the muqaddimah of ONE Umm Kulthum song, a permission that cost THOUSANDS of dollars, he was quoted this obscene price for something like the first 6:11 of music. When he was doing the mastering of his CD containing the excerpt, he discovered that the pitch was too low; he sped up the recording to the proper place, and ended up getting almost 1:00 more of the song to use on his compilation CD (for "free")!

In her early repertoire, there are some interesting pieces (Gamalat Bin Ayazayn, pardon my atrocious spilling, too tired to look it up) with tetrachords not mentioned in any textbook - This piece is in Sawk Afza, an esoteric makam used more in Turkish mevlevi music than in Arab classical music, and modulates to some hithero unknown makam featuring F, G half flat, A half flat, and B flat. It's not quite a garib-hijaz tetrachord (there's a section later in the piece featuring garib-hijaz), it's not a beyati tetrachord, it's not a mustafar tetrachord...
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[*] posted on 5-10-2005 at 05:55 AM


Quote:
Originally posted by TruePharaoh21
They indeed are transposed. And quite often, they aren't on any real "note," which is to say... for example, not on D or E half flat, but 82% of the way between the two.

I have a program that can change the pitch, so this is what I usually do. If you have questions about certain mp3 recordings that you have, whether it be of Om Kolthoum or otherwise, please let me know... I will try to correct the pitch to the best of my abilities so that you can hit the notes "on the spot," as you say.

TP21



TP,

What program are you using?




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TruePharaoh21
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[*] posted on 5-10-2005 at 06:37 AM


My programs are quite simple, really, and all of you have heard of them before on these forums. One is the AP Tuner, and the other is the Amazing Slow Downer. In conjunction, they work great, as long as I know what the maqam is (which takes a few moments to figure out), and the key that I want to play it from.

When I started learning how to play Ya Msaharni, I realized that they're playing it from A (Rast-A, by the way), and though this maqam is quite easily played from this note, I thought it would be more beneficial to learn it from C instead. Turns out that when I went to play it in rehearsal once, we all did it from C. So really, it's a matter of musician's discretion (though I don't know if I'm quite worthy yet to be termed a musician).

Eliot, forgive my ignorance, but isn't Shawq Afza the maqam used in Lissa Faker as Om Kolthoum says "Kan Zaman" at the end? Though it is rarely used, I agree, it is quite the modulation to do and has a profound effect on the audience. Sunbati was a genius.

TP21




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[*] posted on 5-10-2005 at 07:52 AM


Morcos,

I can post el-Atlal for you as a real player file probably by tomorrow morning, I suppose (May 11, 2005). That won't be too hard. As for the playing segments... are there certain parts of the song that you'd like to focus on in particular? Once I post the file tomorrow, you can tell me between which parts (minute-wise) you'd like to learn. I can only do my best, but I'm sure that others in this forum can help much more than I can. But again, I will try to help as much as possible.

TP21

P.S. I am indeed extremely lucky to be able to play with Kan Zaman. It's truly a gift and an honor.




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[*] posted on 5-10-2005 at 10:07 AM


Hi TP21, it nice that you have played with kan zaman:)
For the omkultum songs I think it's better that we look on the song and try to find the real frequency, for example If al atlal is 425 hrz, then people will take from this forum only the frequency, and they can change their tuner setting.
In this way, we creat a frequency songs database
For example Fakarouni 445 darati al aam 415 and son on
when someone want to play a song, he will only change his tuner setting accroding to the database.
This is just a an idea, you idea is good
I hope you understand by bad english
Best regards
:)
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[*] posted on 5-10-2005 at 11:11 AM


Alarabi,

While I can absolutely give you guys that information, I do have somewhat of a gripe with it... To my knowledge, the oud strings would bust a lot quicker if we were to fiddle around a lot with the tuning. Also, let's take into consideration that if you want to play two songs in a row, you'd have to end up retuning your entire oud. Yikes!

At the time, they really were just tuning to her voice so that she'd be most comfortable during the concert. I think the best way to get some of her songs without fiddling around with either your tuning or the pitch would probably be to obtain the studio recordings for the songs that you want. To my knowledge, those are on 440 Hz, though I believe I've only come across about two of them. If I were in Egypt, it'd be much easier, but I am here, and my only resource is the Internet.

I actually have started a little txt file on my computer that I write all the adjustment for the pitches in, so that when I want to play that particular song, I don't have to sit there and try to figure out what the tuning I used before was. I wish I was home right now so that I would be able to let you know what the pitch difference in el-Atlal is, and to post the audio file, but I'm still at school right now, and don't have access to my programs here.

Thank you for your continuing patience. I'm sure this post will end up being very productive for all of us.

TP21




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[*] posted on 5-10-2005 at 03:16 PM


i think this is turning into a great thread and i've just had a FANTASTIC idea!!! how bout we have a section on learning the great old songs? for example if someone can play his/her attempt at a song then they can get feedback from all the rest of us and try to make even better, it will kind of be like maqam of the month. we could have song of the month.......:airguitar::airguitar::airguitar::airguitar::airguitar::airguitar::airguitar::airguitar: i love this idea!!!!!
TP21, cant wait for you to help everyone out. will check this thread tomorrow sometime. take care all:)




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[*] posted on 5-10-2005 at 09:11 PM


Iam happy with the dirrection this thread is taking. We can start with Al-Atlal (and maybe move to siret el 7ob for me please:D)
I absolutely agree with you TP about the constant retuning its just not how things should be done.

Also to bring back another question I first had when I started this thread. I tune from Bass strings down. DGAdgc
I thinks its a somewhat common tuning... only I find one particular maqam ( I found a better example of it with Baa Ayez tensani) from Farido Iam unsure of the maqam name but I think its hijaz kar.
It is verry difficult to play because there are not many open strings and the notes are placed in a unconventional fashion. also when I play I end up playing 4 notes with the A string and barely touching the one above witch is tuned to G . There are many songs that I love that are written that maqam (someone let me know if its not hijaz kar please:D)
would there be another tuning that I could use that would make it easier to play?? Iam thinking CEAdgc only I would like to make shure.
I am posting a pic that shows where my fingers go ( the green dots = notes in order with numbers that maqam hijaz kar is has described on maqam world) Iam puting red dots where the notes I play beyond and above the prescribed notes. The Red A means that I play the string opened (lower notes then the maqam prescribes) the song go to that note only.. I dont know if its suposed to be played in the maqam or its the composer's creativity taking over. Just trying to understand.

One thing is the maqam only using those notes? and when it goes higher or more towards the Lower(base) notes then it changes maqam or is the same maqam only starting from a different starting note?
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[*] posted on 5-10-2005 at 09:33 PM
Sika Baladi


Hey TP, how are ya mate. You know Ive always referred to Sikah Baladi as Sikd Al Nawa(Sika al Nawa), and infact with all the musicians I have worked with in Egypt call it the same. This is a very old and tradition mode and you can hear many pieces which modulate to this as the Bb1/4 tone is a great pivot, especailly in the raqsat, many violinists use it. Just listen to early Sami Shawa taqasims. There are a few other variations however. I personally use 3 variations when I play it. G, Ab1/4, Bb1/4(or B natural), C#1/4(or C natural), d, Eb1/4(or Eb), F#, G.

I have just made a quick taqasim to demonstrate. Dont judge my playing. Its not the best!

Cheers.

JT;)
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[*] posted on 5-10-2005 at 09:42 PM
Sikd Al nawa Taqasim


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