Oud lesson XX
11/04/2016 § Leave a comment
Things seem to be changing a lot of the time with regard to what I should be doing for the performance exam. The Bayat Samai is still part of it, but after today’s lesson with E he thinks that a longa should be included, and that including another samai would not give me enough time. We have therefore agree to not do the farahadaza samai – which is a bit of shame because I feel it’s one of the pieces that has arguably advanced me as a musician, and replaced it with the Longa Yorgo. This piece is one that I have known for several months and have played many times, it is quite familiar to me, but it is still not that much of an easy piece , it has some awkward fingering around bars 19 and 20 and 25 to 29:
The tempo, fortunately enough, although appearing awkward with the large amounts of triplets is quite instinctive and natural. It is only the fingering that is awkward – esp bar twenty demands the 1st, 2nd and 3rd finger to be utilised in close proximity in quick succession – and this can be remedied by just playing the piece slowly and getting reacustomed to it, and then speeding up as necessary. This longa is known by other names such as Longa Sultaniyegah, Longa Sirtu or Sultaniyegah Oyun Havasi in Turkish.
As for the Bayat piece, we are still keeping this – but to my dismay E didn’t like any of my ornamentations that I had been so keen on! He told me not to do it and play the piece more or less how it is written as ‘bare bones’ [my words not his]. I am a little concerned about this because I think it will be quite boring for some people in the audience – especially those who are already familiar with the piece since it is quite well-known, and what makes familiar Middle Eastern music interesting to seasoned listeners is hearing new interpretations from the player who can similarly exhibit their understanding of the piece and technical skill, but E thinks it is best to do it simply. He said the fact that it was in Bayat and included quartertones is enough.
That only leaves the scales. I asked him why, for instance, I should concentrate on Saba from Re, Mi, So, La and not Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, and I was told that the maqam from Fa is too difficult and that it was difficult to ‘feel’ instinctively. However, he thinks that I should not be concentrating on playing maqams for performance on anything other than their main tonics and that concentrating on the other transposed tonics should be done for future learning. Therefore he thinks that the following should be run through in Performance just from the main tonics:
I could always include others such as Nawa Athur, Shuri and Husseini but maybe this is enough. He said it might also be worth transposing one of the maqams [e.g. Nahawand on Re rather than on Do].
As for an improvisation in Bayat as a taqsim, E’s only advice here was that I play what I liked. A few weeks ago when I asked him to teach me the art of taqsim he said, “how can I teach you taqsim?! It is something in your blood” so I can deduce from that that it is only something that will come over a long amount of time. For now I will play a Bayat taqsim that showcases my understanding of the maqam as well as including the idiomatic phrases from Munir Bashir.