Oud learning diary XII

19/01/2016 § Leave a comment

This is really just a placeholder entry, so to speak, to elaborate on things since the last entry. Ehsan cancelled the last lesson which was supposed to be on the 9th Jan, for reasons which were not made known, and what with my being in Leicester the weekend just gone, the next lesson is to be this Saturday 23rd, which will have made just over a month since the last lesson.

I have been working on the Mahur and the Farahfaza since the last lesson. The former is going very well, and the latter has been committed to memory. To be honest there is only one problem with the piece, the expected issue which is the beginning of the fourth hanna. It is definitely possible for me to progress successfully on this section, but really success here lies in knowing how to transition well between the third and sixth notes of the second half of the bar:

bar 1

Prior to this piece I imagine that the difficulty would come in playing the high notes, but in fact playing them per se is not an issue, but moving between notes which mean using the fourth finger and then moving to a higher string on the first.

One thing which is also important at this point is the setting of goals per practice session as noted in this post. It would be worthwhile to set goals for each session and only finish the session once completed. I think these do not have to be large goals, but small, incremental ones which work towards playing a piece well. For instance, for tomorrow I could try working on how to transition well between the third and fourth note of the bar above. Not more than that, and in the next session between the fifth and sixth.

It has come to my realisation that it’s going to be pretty hard to work in some ensemble playing. I wrote to Ed Emery about this last week but am yet to receive any reply. I know that playing stylistically was a recent concern, but the natural working in of some tremolo in certain pieces, especially in the Huzzam Samai, appears to be quite successful so I should build on this. But working in ensemble time with working five days a week [and learning the pieces] seems very difficult with the current work I have to do for Ehsan. I will be in SOAS at the beginning of Feb and discuss my concerns.

Something I should really do the next time I see Ehsan is discuss the importance of the samai. Why am I always learning samais and why are they important to the tradition? I already know about their traditional structure, but it would be good to know more about their cultural significance and how they fit into the tradition. I imagine when I flesh out the diary proper I should also mention the impact of Targan which doubtless posts like this would be very useful for.

Suggested reading:

The Culture and History of Tarab

The origins of the Iraqi Oud generation 


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