21 February 2011

Tahar Gharsa - Solo de Oud Tunisien

The oud music of Tahar Gharsa is renowned in Tunisia.  The oud is a musical instrument which has a distinct and soothing sound.  "The oud (Arabic: عود‎ ʿūd, plural:أعواد, a‘wād; Assyrian:ܥܘܕ ūd, Persian: بربط barbat; Turkish: ud or ut;[1] 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.

The origin of the name oud (and its etymological cousin, lute) for the musical instrument is uncertain, but the Arabic العود (al-ʿūd) refers literally to a thin piece of wood similar to the shape of a straw, and may refer to the wooden plectrum traditionally used for playing the oud,[2] to the thin strips of wood used for the back, or to the fact that the top was made of wood, not skin as in other instruments.[citation needed] Recent research by Eckhard Neubauer suggests that oud may simply be an Arabic borrowing from the Persian name rud, which meant string, stringed instrument, or lute.

The Arabic definite article al-, was not retained when al-ʿūd was borrowed into Turkish, nor was the letter ʿayn, the sound of which (a voiced pharyngeal fricative) does not exist in Turkish. The resulting Turkish word is simply ud (with a pronunciation similar to the word good without the g)

The oud was most likely introduced to Western Europe by the Arabs who established the Umayyad Caliphate of Al-Andalus on the Iberian Peninsula in 711. Oud-like instruments such as the Ancient Greek Pandoura and the Roman Pandura likely made their way to the Iberian Peninsula much earlier than the oud. However, it was the royal houses of Al-Andalus that cultivated an environment that raised the level of oud playing to greater heights and boosted the popularity of the instrument. The most famous oud player of Al-Andalus was Ziryab. He established a music school in Córdoba, enhanced playing technique and added a fifth course to the instrument. The European version of this instrument came to be known as the lute – luth in French, Laute in German, liuto in Italian, luit in Dutch, laúd in Spanish, and alaúde in Portuguese. The word "luthier", meaning stringed instrument maker, is in turn derived from the French luth. Unlike the oud, the European lute utilizes frets (usually tied gut)."
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