Articles

Middle Eastern Long-neck Lutes: Saz, Tambur, Etc.

Posted by Eric Azumi on

by David Brown History One of the most ancient forms of lute is the family of long-neck lutes, which today includes the Greek (and Irish) Bouzouki, the Arab Buzuk, the many sizes of Turkish Saz, the Persian Setar, the Armenian-Persian-Central Asian Tar, the Afghan Tumbur, Dambura and Dutar, and even the North Indian Sitar. By definition any lute with a neck longer than the body is a long-neck lute, so even the American Banjo is technically in this extended family! Three ancient instruments seem to be the earliest long-neck lutes in use. These are the Tanbur-e-Khorosan of eastern Iran and...

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The Oud: The Arabic Lute

Posted by Eric Azumi on

Ouds by David Brown   Originally ouds were strung with gut strings (although it is possible for silk to have been employed near the Persian-Chinese border) but today nylon has all but replaced gut. I have never played a gut strung instrument; there may still be some but almost all players use some type of synthetic compounds. D'Addario (my preference) and La Bella (a close second) make fine oud strings, using high quality nylon like that used for guitar strings. I have seen many sets from the Middle East; the Turkish strings are of good quality but I am under...

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Oriental Oboes: Zurna Fantasies and Secrets

Posted by Eric Azumi on

Oriental Oboes and Shawms by David Brown   The ancestor of the modern oboe is the baroque oboe; it is descended from the Renaissance shawm. All of these double-reed woodwinds share several characteristics; a conical bore, double reed, and a common ultimate ancestor- the folk oboe of the Orient. These instruments are known under many names, often each region having its own terms, and come in three main types, namely the Middle Eastern, Chinese and Indian versions. All of these folk oboes use a flattened grass stalk reed, not a hard cane reed like the Renaissance shawm or the Highland...

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The Ney: The Middle Eastern Flute

Posted by Eric Azumi on

Ney A Middle Eastern Flute by David Brown   One of the oldest forms of flute is the ney, the endblown flute played in slightly varying forms from Morocco to Pakistan. The word is Farsi for reed, and indeed the nay is made in its traditional form from the Arundo Donax plant, the same as used to make oboe, saxophone and clarinet reeds. It is not made from bamboo, as the differing internodal pattern of the Arundo Donax is used in a specific fashion to make ney. Some modern makers have experimented with some success with replacing the reed by...

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Olaf Palm: Oil Painter Of Musicians

Posted by Eric Azumi on

Olaf Palm Our good friend Olaf Palm the painter and musician died October 21, 2000This page is dedicated to his paintings of his musical friends.   California artist Olaf Palm has long had a fascination with 17th century Dutch Masters that is evident in his work, which has an old-world feel and favors rich, dark tones of green, brown and plum. His studies of People capture a range of human expression and mannerisms. The son of Finnish immigrant farmers, he was raised in Northern California and studied art at San Jose State College, where he went against the prevailing fascination...

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