Oud learning diary VI

18/11/2015 § Leave a comment

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve made a diary entry. There are a few reasons for this, the main one being that I was unsure just how often I was supposed to be making entries. Fortunately I have the answer to that question now – it is supposed to be once a week! I had a very interesting meeting with Ilana yesterday and was able to get all of my questions answered thus far about the Performance unit.

The notes I made from the meeting ceded the following points:

  • By end of term I should be taking lessons, taking notes, getting a good sense of the instrument and the tradition. Lessons are already underway, though I could be notetaking more than I am. As for getting a good sense of the instrument, I suppose I do, as for the tradition, I wouldn’t say I had a good sense of the Iraqi tradition yet. Moreso a good idea of the Turkish [but this is only to be expected].
  • Once a week diary entries, working on problems, culture, what types of practise you are doing to overcome problems. This has been more or less the case, once again, I need to work more on the cultural aspect.
  • One hour’s practise a day is expected. This is really only a guideline though Ilana seemed to think that my doing 2-3 hours a day was too much. However, it’s important that I do what’s necessary to get to where I want to get to, and after all Ehsan said that it was really 3-4 hours a day that should be done. Of course, if I take diary entries into consideration, listening to oud music, watching videos and playing the instrument then we do get more towards 4 hours and possibly more.
  • If you are having problems with money talk to the faculty, two instalments of 250 and 250 are possible, they may give some up front. Something to bear in mind. I will have spent £90 this month on lessons, fortunately it will be £60 next month and £60 in January so I may not have to ask just yet.
  • Essay for submission: this will be 3000 words and comprise diary entries put together in essay format. It should be a coherent piece of writing with a narrative, incorporating material from the diary into broader essay. What has studying oud taught me about Arab culture – important question. Secondary lit. musical analysis. Personal journey should support your argument rather than be the basis of the doc. Ilana did point out not to stress out about diary at all [and that I would get more marks for turning up at the soundcheck for the performance]. She added that the diary as an essay would likely get 65, but with the points above closer to 80. Even though this only forms 20% of the unit every little helps. I should consider at what point I start planning at writing the thing. Moodle has got an AS1 which has appeared for 26th April. I presume this is the deadline. There should be 2-3 pieces of literature/sources to support the argument too, Ilana said. The question then remains – how big should the bibliography be? I would consider starting to plan the diary essay for writing at the beginning of April.
  • The performance itself will be in May/June [most likely June]. A public performance in the Brunei Gallery. I will have to choose the pieces, then there will be an oral. Either rigdhoose these pieces?”. Also might be worth considering getting another musician there for tempo [Faruk?].

I should also continue my last entry with regard to the points I was making in improving my pieces.

4. Test the potential solutions to select the most effective one (what tweaks seem to work best?) It turns out that my idea of not looking at the fingerboard really wasn’t right at all. However, there are two things which have helps – improved fingering and visualising/knowing the next note or two notes just before they are about to be played. So this is very much a form of control that relies on looking ahead and knowing where one is going rather than deciding it as it happens. Implementing these [point 5] will take a little bit more time but that’s something I can probably follow up on in the next 2 weeks or so.

The final point is with regard to the lesson with Ehsan on the 7th November. In this lesson he stressed the importance of listening to pieces but also of watching masters play. I must have spent a good ten minutes watching him. This is something that I have already factored into my own learning [will come back to this shortly]. Secondly he emphasised the importance of transposing of scales and that I will have to learn various maqamat in semitones from sol-sol. At the moment I am concentrating on Nahawand, Hijaz and Ajam. WHat I am finding out about transposing these is that it’s better to get a real feel for the maqam to be successful in each semitonic transposition rather than just remembering the pattern on the fingerboard. For this reason I will sketch out the intervallic structures:

Nahawand: 4-2-4-4-2-6-2 / 4-4-2-4-4-2-4

Hijaz: 2-6-2-4-2-4-4

Ajam: 4-4-2-4-4-4-2

Finally, with regard to watching pieces, I came across this one by Farid Al Atrash:

I picked the final section of this piece correctly by the looks of things. I’ll speak to Ehsan about playing this piece and see what he recommends.


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