Recently I have listened to many video clips from a great playlist that I have found – a playlist about the baroque guitar, the lute and other baroque instruments.
One of the many great videos that I have listened to was a clip by Rob MacKillop who first plays a tarantella piece and afterwards explains some of the strumming techniques that he uses. This music sounds very modern, especially with the strumming.
Obviously the popular music of this time has found its way to the compositions and arrangements by musicians like Gaspar Sanz who has set one of the greatest hits of that time – Canarios – for the baroque guitar.
Strumming Tips for Baroque Guitar
Somebody asked me how I strum, so here is a rough performance of the Terantela from the Coimbra MS and an explanation of what I’m doing. The original has only one line of chords: C G C G F E Am but I introduce it with the chords which underlie the punteado part: Am G C G Am E Am. Only the first punteado part is original, to which I added four other diferencias – basic stuff.
This is not the dainty repicco found in some publications, so whether it is ‘authentic’ or not, well, who can say?
This is the link to the complete playlist by youtube user lorod with more than 80 instersting video clips with many interesting pieces for the baroque instruments. Just listen to the music and let you be surprised!
Today i have selected some videos of the concerto for lute, violins and basso continuo in d major by Antonio Vivaldi. This concerto is played quite often by different ensembles. I have played this many years ago together with the mandolin orchestra of Baden (Badisches Zupforchester).
The first video has just been added to youtube. The concerto is played by a large guitar ensemble from Japan:
The second video shows a version arranged for a guitar quartet, played by the Salzburger Gitarrenquartett:
Salzburger Gitarrenquartett – Antonio Vivaldi: Konzert D-Dur
live concert in Tallinn / Estonia, 30.9.2005, conductor: Leslie B. Dunner (USA), Estonian National Symphony Orchestra (http://www.erso.ee ), sheet music and CD available here: http://www.edition49.de (arrangements for several instruments are available)
Google has included the search for the oud – the Arabian lute – to the Holiday Logo for Christmas 2010.
It’s great that google has added this search for an inmportan plucked instrument that is played all over the Middle East.
Wikipedia about the oud:
The oud (Arabic: عود ʿūd, plural:أعواد, a‘wād; Assyrian:ܥܘܕ ūd, Persian: بربط barbat; Turkish: ud or ut; Greek: ούτι; Armenian: ուդ, Azeri: ud; Hebrew: עוד ud; Somali: cuud or kaban) is a pear-shaped stringed instrument commonly used in North Africa (Chaabi, Andalusian, …) and Middle Eastern music. The modern oud and the European lute both descend from a common ancestor via diverging evolutionary paths. The oud is readily distinguished by its lack of frets and smaller neck.
Those are the special features of the oud (shortened from Wikipedia):
Lack of frets: The oud, unlike many other plucked stringed instruments, does not have a fretted neck. This allows the player to be more expressive by using slides and vibrato. It also makes it possible to play the microtones of the Arabic Maqam System.
Strings: With some exceptions, the modern oud has eleven strings. Ten of these strings are paired together in courses of two. The eleventh, lowest string remains single.
Pegbox: The pegbox of the oud is bent back at a 45-90° angle from the neck of the instrument. This provides the necessary tension that prevents the pegs from slipping. The tension of the strings helps to hold what would otherwise be a weak joint together. The design is elegant and evolved before the design was written down. The nut is held in place by the string tension, rather than being glued.
Body: The oud’s body has a staved, bowl-like back resembling the outside of half a watermelon, unlike the flat back of a guitar. This bowl allows the oud to resonate and have a particular tone quality. The shape is structurally very strong and stable enabling it to be very thin.
Sound-holes: The oud generally has one to three sound-holes, which may be either oval or circular, and often are decorated with a carved bone or wooden rosette.
As a composer Mahmoud Turkmani has added new elements to the traditional playing style of the oud. He uses the oud in his compositions which are enriched by multimedia elements as can be seen in the second video of a performance of his composition Ya Sharr Mout.
Biography (shortened from Mahmoud Turkmani homepage)
The innovative guitarist, composer an oud player Mahmoud Turkmani is considered as a renovator and bridge-builder between contemporary Western-classical and Arabic-traditional music. Mahmoud Turkmani who was born in 1964 in Northern Lebanon studied from 1984 to 1989 classical guitar and composition at the Moscow Academy for Music. After his graduation he continued his studies at Oscar Ghiglia (1989/90, Conservatory of Basle, Switzerland), Juan Carmona (1991/92, Flamenco Programme, Andalucia) und Stephan Schmidt (1994-97, Conservatory of Berne, Switzerland). Stephan Schmidt encouraged him to develop his own musical language. It took Mahmoud Turkmani several years to devise his own musical world which, based on his own multicultural background, found its unique form and expressiveness.
Since 1994 Mahmoud Turkmani has composed works for well-known artists and ensembles such as Keyvan Chemirani, Barry Guy, Patricia Kopatchinskaya, Conrad Steinmann, Matthias Ziegler, the Trio Aspekte, the Erato String Quartet, the Eos Guitar Quartet, the Berne Symphony Orchestra and the Cairo Symphony Orchestra. In the multimedial project “Ya Sharr Mout” Mahmoud Turkmani experiments with video, word and sound. Currently, he is working on a composition about the book “Liliths Return” by the Lebanese writer Joumana Haddad.
This is a solo piece by Mahmoud Turkmani in which you can see the oud and the playing technique very well:
Mahmoud Turkmani- Soudfa / صدفة
Ya Sharr Mout – Live in Beirut
“Ya Sharr Mout” is an audio-visual performance by composer and musician Mahmoud Turkmani (http://www.mahmoudturkmani.com ) and VJ Rhaps (Michael Spahr, http://rhaps.com ) with texts by Nadia Tuéni. This film shows parts of the opening concert in Beirut, Lebanon, in October 2007. (Footage by www.dschointventschr.ch)
Another interesting player of the oud is the young Mohamed Abozekry. He is listed in the Guinnes Book of Records as the youngest professor for the oud!
Oudiste talented and precocious, Mohamed Abozekry begins in 2004 followed the teachings of famous Iraqi musician Naseer Shamma in the Beit el Oud (Arabic Lute House) in Cairo. In 2007, he obtained the diploma of soloist and Professor with the Award of Excellence. Then aged 15 years, he became the youngest professor of the Arab oud.
If you need a break from the holiday music at the moment, maybe it is a good idea to listen to some music of a completely different culture.
I have collected some videos with an instrument that is used in Persia, Azerbaijan and Armenia – the tar. There are many more interesting videos, including some lessons on how to play the tar. You can use the youtube search links I have added at the end to find more!
The body of the Azeri tar has a double-bowl (figure-of-eight) shape, carved from one piece of mulberry wood. It lacks the slanting sides of the Iranian tar, and the top half is rounded. The front is a thin membrane of stretched bladder.
The neck is glued to the body (which has a strengthening stick through it) and a separate (quite large) square pegbox. The friction pegs (with big round knobs) are on both sides of the open pegbox. The frets are tied-on nylon (4 windings), with some in 1/4 note intervals (based on 17 intervals in an octave). These fret intervals differ from the Iranian tar.
Ramiz Guliyev – Tar
Ramiz Guliyev playing “Tar ” Azerbaijan’s national instrument
“Eshkhemet” – Sayat Nova by the virtuoso Tar-Player Rafik – Rafael Vardanyan Հայաստան
“Eshkhemet” – Sayat Nova by the virtuoso Tar-Player Rafik Rafael Vardanyan – prize winner of “Best Armenian Tar-Player” in Armenia.
Sahba Motallebi – Tar Improvisation
Sahba Motallei was born in 1978 in Tehran, Iran, and started playing traditional Persian music very early on. she is a graduate of Tehran Conservatory where she mastered playing Tar and Setar (traditional Persian instruments) under the instructions of master Fariborz Azizi.
She further enhanced her performance of the renowned capabilities by enjoying the direct guidance of the renowned master of traditional Persian music, Hossein alizadeh, and the respected music theoretician, Dr Mehran Rouhani. She continued her formal music studies in composition at St Petersburgh Conservatory, Russia. Sahba has recorded several CDs and composed numerous theatrical peaces. For more information on Sahba’s work please visit http://www.sahbamusic.com
Finally another solo on the tar played by Sahba Motallebi