What is the Oud instrument ?


The Oud instrument

The history of the Oud spans millennia, making any brief statement feel inadequate. Yet the basics about the instrument hint at its long influence on music in one of the cradles of human civilization.
The oud is often referred to as the first stringed instrument in history. According to some historians, it first appeared in 3000 BCE and was played during the time of King David. From the Holy Land, it reputedly came to the Egyptians and the Iraqis,
following the wanderings of the Israelites.
Though the instrument has changed over the eons, it still retains many of the same features, especially its haunting, stirring sound, suggesting ancient times yet remaining a vital source of inspiration for musicians around the world.

According to El-Farabie, the Oud dates back to the days of Lamech; a sixth-generation descendant of Adam. Lamech was known as the “Father of the Oud players”. The first appearance of the Oud was 3000 BC. The desecrated skeleton suggested the
form of the Oud. Oud is known as the first stringed instrument in history.
The oldest pictorial record of the Oud dates back to the Uruk period in Southern Mesopotamia (Iraq), over 5000 years ago on a cylinder seal acquired by Dr. Dominique Collon and the seal is currently housed at the British Museum..
As the Oud becomes the quintessence of earlier chordophones, it also constitutes their functional synthesis. In the 9th century, Miwardi, the jurist of Baghdad, extolled its use in treating illness, such as King David did through his life with his Oud. The
Oud was in the hands of Egyptians and Iraqis when the Israelites came out of Egypt. They took the Oud with them to the Holy Land. The Oud still maintains its Egyptian and Iraqi features and musical stylings. The Oud was played in sacred places such as
the temples of Egypt.
The Oud is the predecessor of the Lute and Guitar:
Came to Spain first by “Zyriab” on “9th Century” at his era, the Oud developed to take another embodiment, which is become the Lute after the musician added to the Oud the frites , since the Oud is fretless instrument, after few years of this
development the Oud have been in another embodiment which it become the Guitar;’
“The Oud become a Guitar
“ The term guitar is descended from the Latin word cithara, but the modern guitar itself is generally not believed to have descended from the Roman instrument. Many influences are cited as antecedents to the modern guitar. Although the development
of the earliest “guitars” is lost in the history of medieval Spain, two instruments are commonly cited as their most influential predecessors, the European lute and its cousin, the four-string oud; the latter was brought to Iberia by the Moors in the 8th
Wikipedia :Guitar History section | https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guitar
The Risha (the pic) and strings of the Oud :
The strings of the contemporary ‘ud are twisted, or spirally reinforced. They are plucked with a plectrum (risha, ‘quill’) made of an eagle’s feather and held between thumb and index finger; a shell or plastic plectrum may be used instead. The technique
calls for suppleness of the wrist as the plectrum strikes the strings in a simple fall, or combines risings and fallings. Certain teachers, such as Tawfiq al-Sabbagh, claim that a technique similar to the mandolin tremolo was once used. This may have
disappeared, but another technique spread rapidly: the basm(‘imprint’), which was invented by the Egyptian Ahmad al-Laythi (1816-1913). It consists of substituting for the plectrum touches of the fingers of the left hand, plucking the strings, and
introduces light and shade into the execution. Munir Bashir (Iraq) extended the technique by using the right hand too; he has made it one of the canons of present-day aesthetics of the’ud.
There are two schools or conceptions of performance. The first, or ‘Ottoman’, takes as its principle the ornamentation of the sound, produced by delicate glissandos of the fingers and slight vibratos. The touch of the plectrum on the string sets off a
vibration which, in turn, gives rise to an effect of resonance, volume and controlled intensity. The second aesthetic approach is Egyptian. The volume is amplified by firm strokes of the plectrum, which makes the strings resonate; the result is a curiously
dulled sound, akin to the nasal effect of Egyptian song. This calls for virtuosity in performance, which is conceived of as an exteriorizing factor. The finest proponents of this school have been Safar ‘Ali (1884-1962), Muhammad al-Qassabji (1898-1966) and
Farid al-Atrash (1907-75), who, despite his melodramatic style, breathed a new vitality into the instrument. A synthesis of these two styles is taking place in Somalia, where the manner of performance combines extensive glissandos with the sonorous
impact of the plectrum; the outstanding proponents of this style are Abdullahi Qarshe and ‘Umar Dhule.

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