The Enchanting Qanun, and a few other CDs for your listening library

Arabic Music, Music, Oud, Taqasim No Comments

I am listening to ” Le Qanun Enchante’ “under the “Club Du Disque Arabe” label. This is probably the best thing one can do on a gloomy San Francisco morning. The first five tracks sound like the Mediterranean sun. The last two like Cairo summer evenings. Every track a masterpiece.

I was noticing that the post “As The Hard Times Hit” is quite popular. Another reason for listening to that CD. Music is flexing its muscles against the forces of nature and modern life, and it is winning. At least for now..

I continue to break the geographic and chronological order of the repertoire series and would like to recommend a few other CDs for a day like this: Read the rest…

Classical Arabic Oud Player’s Repertoire (part 6)

Arabic Music, Music, Oud, Taqasim No Comments

Until now, in the first 5 parts in this series we discussed what is called “Urban / Classical twentieth century Egyptian music”. This was one of the central currents in Arabic music and has had an effect on the music in most of the Arab world through out the twentieth century. Today we conclude the Egyptian list. In the coming posts we move east and west from Egypt. Read the rest…

Classical Arabic Oud Player’s Repertoire (part 4)

Arabic Music, Music, Oud, Taqasim No Comments

Farid El-Atrash (also spelled Atrache)

For the oud player, Farid is someone who needs to be learned thoroughly. Listening to his recordings, watching videos of his playing, and, no less importantly, knowing his life. Read the rest…

Classical Arabic Oud Player’s Repertoire (part 3)

Arabic Music, Music, Oud, Taqasim 1 Comment

Continuing with Egyptian music..

Abdul Halim Hafez

In addition to the recordings that will be listed below, it is worth checking out “Halim”, the feature film about the great singer’s life. I believe it is now available on DVD with English subtitles. Don’t know about other languages. The film is fairly well made and true to the facts, as far as I know them. Read the rest…

Classical Arabic Oud Player’s Repertoire (part 2)

Arabic Music, Music, Oud, Taqasim No Comments

More Egyptian artists:

Abdel Wahab

The great composer and singer, arguably the greatest in the twentieth century, has composed and performed a lot. The necessary listening list should reflect a variety of his works. Some were already mentioned: the songs he composed for Umm Kulthoum, of which five were recommended. His vocal works written for other singers (for example Abdel-Halim Hafez) will be listed under the sections for those artists. Read the rest…

Classical Arabic Oud Player’s Repertoire (part 1)

Arabic Music, Music, Oud, Taqasim 2 Comments

In this long series of posts we will try to accomplish two goals:

1- Build a library of essential recordings that every oud player intending to know the Arabic repertoire and have an ear for the style.

2- Build a repertoire list of art pieces that every oud player needs to know. These pieces will reflect the variety of styles in the Arab world as well as reflect the basic set of oud techniques.

Please note that a large amount of subjectivity is involved in attempting to do such a thing. I welcome your comments, suggestions, and additions to the list.

Several web stores sell CDs and / or sell downloadable music. Choose your favorite stores or do a web search to find a store. Read the rest…

Tuning The Oud and Keeping It In Tune (Part 3)

Music, Oud No Comments

In part 1, the process of tuning the oud was discussed. Of the methods suggested, some do not require using the ear, namely the methods that employ electronic tuners. Others require using the ear to “match pitch” where you match the tuning of the string to a pitch provided by another instrument. The preferred method, however, requires using the ears to determine the tuning based on relationships between strings. This method requires more refined interval hearing skills than the others.

The question that many students ask is how does one improve their ability to hear intervals and relations between pitches and especially in Arabic music which contains micro-tonalities that are smaller than the equal tempered semitone? This is important not only for tuning the instrument but also for playing in tune, and being able to identify accurately what one is hearing. Read the rest…

Tuning The Oud and Keeping It In Tune (Part 2)

Music, Oud 4 Comments

Part 1 compared methods of tuning the oud, in terms of accuracy of results, implications on the learning process of the oud player, and discussed some practical considerations.

Whatever approach to tuning you may choose, there are things you can do to keep the oud in tune longer. This post discusses steps to take before installing new strings on the oud. Several steps taken here can affect the tunability of the oud. Read the rest…

Tuning The Oud and Keeping It In Tune (Part 1)

Music, Oud 4 Comments

Like any other acoustic instrument, the oud needs to be in tune at all times during performance or practice. The question is how best to tune it.

If you are looking for the best tuning to use, refer to this essay which compares different tunings. You can choose the one that suits your needs best. This post applies to all tunings. Read the rest…

Fusion That Works (part 1)

Arabic Music, Free Improv, Improvisation, Music, Oud No Comments

It is not unusual for musicians from different idioms to get together and play. The result, sometimes, is something fresh, human, beautiful, and creative. Most of the time, however, the result is boring, cold, superficial, and disjointed.

In my view, a series of decisions, mostly not musical, taken by each person early on, in the first seconds of the meeting or even before it, determine the outcome. The question is, how do we make fusion that works? Read the rest…

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