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  1. #1

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    Hi

    I've recently got myself an Oud, and though I'm primarily a fingerpicker, I've been getting back into flatpicking because the Oud is played with a flatpick (risha in the Arabic).

    Are there any other Oud players in this forum? (I suppose I shouldn't really call myself an Oud "player"as yet: I'm just an Oud beginner.) Have you played Oud in Jazz? What gotchas are there?

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Not me, but I'd be up for learning - what Oud did you get?

  4. #3

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    Not me either but I love the instrument. I saw Anouar Brahem around 2000 and it was one of the best performances of improvised music I've ever heard.

    Last edited by mrcee; 07-05-2015 at 09:30 AM.

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Not me, but I'd be up for learning - what Oud did you get?
    Just a beginner Egyptian Oud, with all the wonderful decoration on the neck and back. Got a sweet tone, though, which is all I'm worried about.

  6. #5

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    Serendipity!!....

    because I'm currently listening to Anouar Brahem's album "Le Pas Du Chat Noir" whilst perusing this forum and came across this thread......lol

  7. #6

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    I am playing and learning the Turkish oud.

    Beautiful instrument but hard to master.


  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by michael_bxl
    I am playing and learning the Turkish oud.

    Beautiful instrument but hard to master.

    Amen to that. I thought at first I would find it easy, because of my violin/viola/cello experience in playing in tune (or a reasonable semblance thereof ) but it was harder than I thought, because the sound was plucked, not bowed, and for a while I was all over the show.

  9. #8

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    If it is to play some western things we use to ear, I think it is doable.
    I found the instrument closer to the player, more intuitive (as maybe a trumpet player will feel each note differently, vibrating in his body). We need to listen ! Plus : only 1 or 2 positions most of the time, and no polyphonic sounds/chords.

    My main issue is more with eastern things : we do not have the sounds in our ears, neither the melodies. We have no idea of what the classics are. Even child songs we use to find in the first pages guitar methods.

    I should try to apply some jazz on it.

  10. #9

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    While I haven't laid my fingers on one yet I want to. I was in an old tobacco shop a few years ago that had a range of middle eastern instruments ranging from those hand drums to a wide range of violin and mandolin looking instruments. While they had an oud or two they were complete crap. Seemed to be made out of plywood and they strings were totally out of tune. If I ever find a playable one for a decent price I'd buy one any second. Either that or a lute.

  11. #10

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    I don't play one myself but they are fantastic instruments. I listen to a fair bit of oud and would love to get my hands on one. The only one I've seen in person is in local a guitar shop as part of the owners decorative collection (along with a few shamisens, another great instrument), which bugs me, yes its a nice looking instrument but they are meant to be played, that's when any good instrument is at its most beautiful.

  12. #11

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    check out gordon grdinia...oud and electric guitarist..real hip material..lotsa good recordings



    cheers

    ps- another fave is brandon terzic



    cheers
    Last edited by neatomic; 06-18-2016 at 10:22 PM. Reason: ps-

  13. #12

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    Great thing indeed, I can't stop listening to this guy, his ethno-jazz team kicks hard:


  14. #13

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    Yes! Back in the '80s I picked up a Turkish oud at the Music Inn in Greenwich Village. At first, I approached it like a guitar, but then soon became entranced by Munir Bashir and Hamza El Din, the latter who I caught live a coupla times. After discovering Umm Kulthum, I transcribed a few of her epic songs and put together a small group with a violist, a string bassist and a percussionist; we even got good enough to play out one summer. Next, I was groovin' on Riad Sunbati, who penned several of Umm Kulthum's most famous songs, and who also played them solo. But my favorite oud player eventually became the Yemeni artist Ahmed Fathi, especially the traditional old Sanaa "qat" songs. On a trip to the Middle East in the '90s I made my way to Aleppo, where I'd heard there were still some old school oud luthiers among the Armenian community there, and ended up bringing one home. Still have the first old Turkish oud, and tune it up and play it once in a while. Godin has an electric oud that piqued my interest recently, but now mostly I enjoy listening to some of the crossover artists you all have mentioned in this thread. Thanks!

    Here's Riad Sunbati playing and singing a tune he wrote for the legendary Umm Kulthum, Alatlal, solo:



    And this is Ahmed Fathi doin' his rendition of one of the old funky odd-timed traditional Yemeni numbers:



    BTW, though Fathi was revered for his virtuosic oud flights, purists despised him (his oud overshadowed the vocal prominence of the old music). Wait for the odd groove to kick in at around 2:20. What's that in, 7 or is it 11? Enjoy!

  15. #14

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    ^ great post..and to think it all started at the music inn! haha...they treated it more like a museum than a store..with a chain across the entrance!!...but they had the "weird" instruments!! hah

    cheers

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic
    ^ great post..and to think it all started at the music inn! haha...they treated it more like a museum than a store..with a chain across the entrance!!...but they had the "weird" instruments!! hah

    cheers
    Thanks, my pleasure to recall those days! A museum indeed. Here's a piece about the place for the uninitiated:

    Sixty Years of Survival in Greenwich Village - UpstartCity - Medium

  17. #16

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    apparently the great hamza el din tuned his oud down from the traditional egyptian tuning(fadgcf) to e g# c# f# b e...which is very close to guitar tuning..with the a, d & g strings tuned down 1/2 step...try it on your guitar...certainly makes you rethink in terms of melody rather than just playing in familiar positions

    cheers

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic
    apparently the great hamza el din tuned his oud down from the traditional egyptian tuning(fadgcf) to e g# c# f# b e...which is very close to guitar tuning..with the a, d & g strings tuned down 1/2 step...try it on your guitar...certainly makes you rethink in terms of melody rather than just playing in familiar positions

    cheers
    Neat, thanks, will have to give that a whirl!

  19. #18

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    90% of the tone and the style without the scale precision required- for guitar players:

    Godin Glissentar – Unfretted

  20. #19

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    I bought a gig bag from a member of this forum, who played on Broadway for the show "The Band's Visit". He was on WNYC playing like Coltrane on the Oud! Phenomenal player!

    Tony Scott wrote a tune for one of his albums called "An Ode for an Oud".

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by JazzPadd
    BTW, though Fathi was revered for his virtuosic oud flights, purists despised him (his oud overshadowed the vocal prominence of the old music). Wait for the odd groove to kick in at around 2:20. What's that in, 7 or is it 11? Enjoy!
    oh man, great clip. yeah that's seven, 2-2-3 (EDIT, it's 3-2-2, heard the downbeat in the wrong place. hey, these laptop speakers are really crappy! yeah that must be it). That meter/grouping is common in balkan/greek, but this one has its own little twist. No idea what they call it in Yemen, but thank you so much for posting it. That percussion was puzzling, you can hear a riq and maybe a bendir, but what's that other thing? Could it be....
    Last edited by whitebeard; 08-09-2019 at 11:19 AM.

  22. #21

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    Check out Joseph Tawadros, he did a great record with John Abercrombie
    and I think another with Mike Stern...

    PK

  23. #22

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    Heya! What’s a good starter Oud?

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by whitebeard
    oh man, great clip. yeah that's seven, 2-2-3. That meter/grouping is common in balkan/greek, but this one has its own little twist. No idea what they call it in Yemen, but thank you so much for posting it.

    That percussion was puzzling, you can hear a riq and maybe a bendir, but what's that other thing? Could it be....

    Bongos???!! Well that was not one of my guesses, but apparently it's common in Yemen.
    Thanks, glad you liked it! That's it, the seven groove. There's also an eleven one, I'll try to track down a recording.

    The bongos sound right, and from live Yemeni oud combo music I've seen the other percussion sounds right, too.

    Quote Originally Posted by whitebeard

    My fave "crossover" is Brenna MacCrimmon's stuff with Selim Sesler, no dumbing down of the source material, just the real thing beautifully rendered -- (the "oud" here being a cumbus)
    Wow, thanks, that MacCrimmon clip is wonderful!

    Intriguingly, cumbus seems etymologically linked to qunbus, an old Yemeni lute that migrated along old world sea trade routes, especially those riding the monsoons to the east. For example, here's one of several articles in which ethnomusicologists have drawn connections between the Yemeni qanbus (specifically from Hadaramut, or southern Yemeni) and the Indonesia gambus.

    https://repository.nie.edu.sg/bitstream/10497/20697/1/ASA-2003-455.pdf

    And here's a clip featuring the Yemeni qunbus:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-XZIIWb7Cg

    There's no percussion, but you can hear several similar riffs to the Ahmed Fathi clip above. Fathi has adopted the more standard Turko-Egyptian oud, but he seems to be playing it Yemeni style, at least on some tunes.

    [Edit: Adjusted some wording and added the cumbus/qunbus/gambus bits instead of posting a new reply.]
    Last edited by JazzPadd; 07-28-2019 at 10:24 PM.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by JazzPadd

    Intriguingly, cumbus seems etymologically linked to qunbus, an old Yemeni lute that migrated along old world sea trade routes, especially those riding the monsoons to the east. For example, here's one of several articles in which ethnomusicologists have drawn connections between the Yemeni qanbus (specifically from Hadaramut, or southern Yemeni) and the Indonesia gambus.

    https://repository.nie.edu.sg/bitstream/10497/20697/1/ASA-2003-455.pdf
    ]


    yep, endlessly intriguing -- the Portuguese once again appearing as cross-pollinators of european/african/arabic/asian culture -- and then Brazil. Not that there's folk samba in odd meter, but these distinctive groupings show up inside the traditional Brazilian rhythms. Oddly enough.

    Possibly the apparent etymological connection is just an artifact of transliteration. "Cumbus" isn't transliterated, it's the actual Turkish word (well, with the diacriticals missing). The (perhaps partly or wholly apocryphal) story is that when Zeynel presented his invention to to Ataturk as an instrument for the New Turkey, he replied hey, this thing sounds happy! You should call it Happiness! -- cumbus (djoom-boosh) meaning happiness, revelry, party time).

    Speaking of which, someone should mention Richard Hagopian --

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lf0-WJ9l57o



    hunh --"automatically parse links" doesn't seem to be working. Copy and pasting the link works fine though

    Last edited by whitebeard; 07-29-2019 at 01:52 PM. Reason: formatting

  26. #25

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    Got a swell Yemeni CD in the mail -- "Music From Yemen Arabia". Oud, vocal, percussion and some kanoun. Sanaani, Laheji, and Adeni styles, all recorded in the '70s. The youtube link is track 1 of this disc, the pic is of the '70s LP. The CD I got is a 1999 Rounder reissue, different cover art, same music.

    Some tracks sound like clay drums and others bongos. There are some characteristic doumbek things on some tracks, although I guess it's possible to get those strokes on bongos held vertically. The music seems uniquely Yemeni, other than some minimal ornamentation the melodies are oddly not particularly Arabic.

    My fave track of the moment is somewhat related to the groove on Hamza El Din's "Nagrishad", eight beat cycle with doum on 1 and 6 but faster and funkier in contrast to the more ethereal Hamza thing. Liner notes say the percussion is a "double clay drum" called "der booga". No picture and no hits on searches, but I wonder if this is the traditional predecessor to the adoption of bongos (ironically there's a picture of bongos on the case).

    Also has a Sanaani track in seven, 3-2-2, which made me wonder if I mis-heard the earlier one (EDIT yes I did) . Apparently (EDIT apparently not) they use both directions (like balkan lesno vs rachenitsa). Reminds of a funny bit about some name guy (Dave Liebman, maybe?) telling his band before a Cuba trip "don't EVER ask these guys where one is".

    anyway, beautiful record. Hats off to JazzPadd for hippin' us to this stuff. thank you thank you thank you
    Last edited by whitebeard; 08-09-2019 at 11:24 AM.

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by whitebeard
    anyway, beautiful record. Hats off to JazzPadd for hippin' us to this stuff. thank you thank you thank you
    And hats off to whitebeard for the Yemeni CD info, and also for noting the similarities to Balkan odd time grooves. Great stuff all around. Thanks!

    BTW, although the CD liner notes refer to the der booga as a double clay drum, on first glance I thought it could be a regional pronunciation for a darbuka, the goblet shaped ceramic (sometimes metal) drum more or less pervasive in Middle Eastern musics. And, I have an old Ocora LP of Iraqi music that mentions some connections to pan-Persian Gulf musics, the common link being a double clay drum known as naqqareh, which resembles bongos. One thing for sure is that these drummings, coupled with oud (and in Hadaramut, so I'm told, harmonium!), grooves on real high.

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by JazzPadd
    BTW, although the CD liner notes refer to the der booga as a double clay drum, on first glance I thought it could be a regional pronunciation for a darbuka, the goblet shaped ceramic (sometimes metal) drum more or less pervasive in Middle Eastern musics. And, I have an old Ocora LP of Iraqi music that mentions some connections to pan-Persian Gulf musics, the common link being a double clay drum known as naqqareh, which resembles bongos. One thing for sure is that these drummings, coupled with oud (and in Hadaramut, so I'm told, harmonium!), grooves on real high.
    yeah, darbuka finally popped into my head in the middle of the night. Somewhere between the field recording and the printing of the liner notes things got a bit garbled. The reason one hears a doumbek is because, well, there's a doumbek, the drum with more names than you could shake several sticks at.

    have to admit, though -- at first glance, my reaction was "Der Booga? I have a vewwy deaw fwend in Wome whose name is....Der Booga. Do you find that...wisible?"

    Naqqareh, aha! That's it then, all the pieces come together. Too bad there's not a liner notes wiki somewhere

  29. #28

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    Accumulating Yemeni related CDs as they arrive in the mail, wow, a whole world I knew nothing about.

    hey JazzPadd ---That first clip you posted IS in fact 3-2-2. It's been bugging me in the dark recesses of my frontal lobe that I've found no other instance of 2-2-3 in the stuff that's piling up here.

    So I downloaded the clip and listened on the stereo system. Important life lesson: things sound really different when you can hear all the parts clearly. Hopefully no one was seriously injured.

    Anyway, thought this one might interest you. "Le Chant de Sanaa", recorded march '98 at the Institut Du Monde Arabe. Hasan al-Ajami (qanbus, vocal) and Ahmed Ushaysh (sahn mimiyeh, vocal).

    Traditional instruments and presentation, distinctly Arabic intonation, ornamentation. The striking thing about this disc is the polar contrast to everything else Yemeni I've heard so far. Not much other than the songs seems to have survived the transition to modern oud/percussion and performance practice.

    Odd oud style, very busy, qanbus player seems to play a lot of drone tremolo with the right hand while hammering on melodic notes with the left. I think the liner notes corroborate this -- they're translated from French and a bit poetic but this seems to be what they describe. Interesting, but, how to say, I was not left thirsting for more.

    Percussion is played on "sahn mimiyeh", liner notes call it a "copper tray", happily there's a good pic on the cover. It's a shallow, flat bottomed bronze-ish bowl held horizontally, supported on the thumbs and played frame-drum style with the fingers.

    The effect is sort of a one-man gamelan. Currently high on my list of coolest things ever, ya just gotta hear it.

  30. #29

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    Good find, thanks! Can hear where Ahmed Fathi is coming from, and how, if this vocal based CD is the tradition in Sanaa, he is certainly de-centering the voice in favor of the oud. Thinking about this, I can recall back when I was studying Yemeni music that I made a kind of time graph of some traditional Sanaa songs and some of Fathi's takes on them, and found that the former were around 90% percent singing, while Fathi's recordings were around 50%.

    The 3-2-2 makes good sense for drive, especially if the accent is on the 1 of the 3 beats, with the 1-2s as echoes.

    And I seem to recall hearing a copper tray, and a story about women originally using it for accompanying singing.

    On the point of revising tradition, I can recommend two fascinating documentaries about Yemeni architecture:




    Somewhat off topic, but worth a look. Enjoy!

  31. #30

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    wow, year and a half. well, I needed a nap.

    hey Jazzpadd, if you're still around -- sorry didn't mean to disappear mid-conversation. Had a little surprise medical adventure, sidelined me for a while. (lyme spirochetes partying in your gray matter isn't nearly as much fun as it sounds. Kids, just say No!)

    Anyway, seems I survived, despite the doctors best efforts (insert rimshot here).

    OK, some stuff I'd meant to post earlier -- a few books for anyone curious about this stuff:

    School Of Oud by Mavrothi Kontanis (Mel Bay) -- concise, practical introduction to the makam tetrachord/pentachord system, several etudes each on three makam with typical modulations, audio clips of everything. All playable on guitar, leaving aside intonation differences. The rhythm audio clips might have been expanded a bit, both the printed notation and audio only demonstrate the basic patterns, while in practice riq/darbuka/kanun/oud etc fill these out into grooves. But that's a minor quibble, it's a great book. And it sits flat on a music stand, a rare luxury these days.

    Makam: Modal Practice in Turkish Art Music by Karl Signell. Comprehensive reference, theory, historical overview. Not exactly light reading but handy to have. Apparently an earlier CD-rom edition included audio clips, these seem to be lost, but the source material was the Rounder "Masters Of Turkish Music" series of three CDs. Also has a pronunciation guide which is great because while the notation is adapted from standard Western notation, the terminology is all Turkish, hard to keep track of unless you have some sense of how to say it.

    And -- Turkish Music Makam Guide by Murat Aydemir. Similar approach to the Kontanis book but covering sixty makams, one composition and one taksim (improv) on each, with audio played on unaccompanied tanbur. Several rhythm patterns (usul) not in the Kontanis book, but no audio. Structure and characteristics of the makams is also covered in the Signell book, but the presentation here is a little easier to grasp.

    All these are on the Ottoman tradition, so nothing specific to Arabic or Persian practice (or Yemeni, which seems to be its own thing outside of the maqam orbit).

    and...I still don't have an oud, still very much in recovering chops after a debilitating illness mode, it's going ok.. Lots of Sor etudes I'd never learned, some really beautiful stuff even in the "easy" etudes. I'm just happy to be practicing again.

  32. #31

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    Hey whitebeard, good to see you and thanks for keeping the oud flame burning! Sorry to hear of your health issues but glad to know you're back in action.

    I remember reading Signell when I was a student, and he is one of the ethnomusicologists who really furthered our knowledge of Turkish music and maqam in general.

    The method books look valuable indeed, thanks for suggesting them. I seem to recall coming across them long ago but haven't seen them lately. When I have time I dip into the Mukhtar method books, which are based on the Iraqi tradition.

    My Turkish oud is unplayable, the top is badly cracked so it's now just a wall ornament. But I do have the much less temperamental Godin multi-oud to fiddle with. Not as authentic, I suppose, but has a good feel, is easy to tune, and generally gets the job done when the mood hits.

  33. #32

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    Good to see you're still kicking too! The multi-oud looks great, I've had more than enough finicky authenticity. Mukhtar books look good too, hadn't discovered them.

    yeah, we owe a great debt to Signell. The other books I mentioned are great but much more narrowly focused, Signell may still be the best general reference in English.

    Under the circumstances learning oud seems, well, sort of comically implausible. OTOH I have transcribed a lot of this stuff and played it on guitar over the years, so maybe not completely ridiculous. If guitar practice goes well over the next few months I'll have to try the multi-oud, it'd be great to play this stuff with the right inflections and intonation.

    Just curious, but how did you discover this music? I'm not sure how I did, but I'm pretty sure it's somehow connected to the cut-out bin at Woolworth's when I was a kid. Cutout LPs were 3 for a dollar, that's where I found Charlie Parker, Charlie Christian, Lightnin' Hopkins, Ravi Shankar, Roger Sessions, Webern, Bartok, John Lee Hooker. That bin was a real education. this was late '60s I guess. Different world.

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by whitebeard
    Just curious, but how did you discover this music? I'm not sure how I did, but I'm pretty sure it's somehow connected to the cut-out bin at Woolworth's when I was a kid. Cutout LPs were 3 for a dollar, that's where I found Charlie Parker, Charlie Christian, Lightnin' Hopkins, Ravi Shankar, Roger Sessions, Webern, Bartok, John Lee Hooker. That bin was a real education. this was late '60s I guess. Different world.
    Woolworth's, a blast from the past!

    About discovering the oud, as I recall it was through Hamza El Din's Eclipse, the album produced in the late 70s by Mickey Hart of Grateful Dead fame. I believe Hart had been studying frame drum with El Din and I think he also jammed with the Dead a few times, so he had a bit of visibility in the US by then. El Din later did some solo concerts in New York City, where I'd lived around that time.

    In fact, I think this is the song that did it for me, The Visitors, my gateway to Middle Eastern music:


  35. #34

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    yeah, Woolworth's -- not sure if they still appended the "5 and 10" then, but they did have a dancing chicken. Always felt sorry for the chicken. Actually, I still do.

    And what became of the dancing chicken trainers? Now there's an occupation in decline. Ever pass a homeless guy with a sign "will dance for food" ? oh, the humanity..

    that's pretty cool finding the Hamza thing! Flipped through LPs a while, couldn't pin mine down -- sold off records en masse so many times, that thread is probably lost.

  36. #35

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    Medieval lute similarly was played with a pick. Crawford Young, a member of Project Ars Nova and the Ferrara Ensemble specializes in late Medieval music, particularly the polyrhythmic and contrapuntally complex Ars Subtilior




  37. #36

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    Amazing Persian player


  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by BWV
    Amazing Persian player


    wow, yeah. Any idea what "Shedayi & Dashetani" means? I was thinking these must be traditional folk tunes given a classical interpretation, but then there seem to be composer credits at the end.


    Couple of Hamza El Din tracks --