Oud learning diary VIII

06/12/2015 § Leave a comment

I am going to start this entry with a list of all the pieces I have learned since starting oud.

Nikriz Longa – Tanburi Cemil Bey
Nihavent Longa – Kevsir Hanim
Nikriz Longa #2 – Cemil Bey – [unfinished at present]
Nihavent Mini Mini Pesrev – [unfinished at present]
Longa Shaharazad – Abdel Wihad Bilal
Longa Yorgo
Samai Hijaz Kar Kurd – Munir Bashir
Huzzam Saz Samai – Haydar
Flying Birds – Munir Bashir
Mahur Saz Semai – Refik Alpman

The first four of these were done off my own back before I had a teacher, the last six since I have been with Ehsan. Curiously enough, Turkish forms the majority of the styles and composers. Only three of these ten pieces are by Iraqis. There must be a pertinent point here with regard to the Turkish influence on Iraqi music. Something to bring up with Ehsan next time.

At the lesson yesterday we focused on a couple of things, firstly improving the Mahur Saz Samai which is not yet finished, and talking about scales and improving those. Ehsan’s memory of exactly what we discuss doesn’t seem to be that great from lesson to lesson, so by next lesson I will have finished the ajam, hijaz and nahawand scaled from sol to sol in semitones quite confidently. I also should really pay attention to the timings and rhythm of the Mahur piece. A piece I really quite enjoy. Something which is quite interesting is the fact that if I visualise something to do with the piece I get the feel of it much more naturally. By which I mean this video gave me the idea to visualise Istanbul during the day and going into the evening for the piece, it made so much sense. The first section of the piece if very much a bright daylight piece, celebrating the day and Summer etc in the Ottoman city and as the final 3/4 rhythm change comes for the nahawand section, evening draws in as we switch again to a minor key. It may be worth interpreting the other pieces in similar ways because this vision and association really helps.

Bonus – edition with notes:

Ehsan and I also talked about the importance of playing what he called ‘folklore’ pieces at gig with Iraqi people. This is to say pieces that Iraqi people know and will be happy to hear. There are two pieces which spring to mind: the Rast piece we played at the Ealing concert and also the Bayat piece [I forget the name] which I hear time and time again in a lot of the oud albums I hear. I am very interested in the definition folklore here, as in music that is in peoples’ heritages, in their homelands, in their blood. Something that connects them very much to their homes and geographical region. In England this folkloric music is something hardly every done in gigs. When one goes to a gig one goes to see that band’s music, not a session so much of music. This is a very interesting distinction, it might be worth talking to Tom about this because he knows quite a lot about English folk music: i.e. where do these folk gigs happen, what kinds of people do etc, because it’s certainly not mainstream knowledge.

So for the next fortnight I will be practising the three maqamat and the Alpman, really enjoyable piece and the first which I have got a real ‘feel’ for, must be to do with the associations. Now if this is something I can feel personally, that must tell me something about what other Turks or Iraqi people feel when listening to the music of their homelands.



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