Saudi Arabia: The King of the Oud

Saudi musician, Abadi Al-Johar, is known as the ‘King of Oud’  Oud in this case is not referring to incense but rather the musical instrument.  It’s name, oud, is derived from the Arabic meaning a thin piece of wood.  The oud makes a unique sound due to its short neck which has no frets.

The most common string combination is five pairs of strings tuned in unison and a single bass string, although up to thirteen strings may be found. Strings are generally made of nylon or gut, and are plucked with a plectrum known as a risha (Arabic for feather). Modern strings are made of steel wound over nylon. The instrument has a warm timbre, low tessatura, and is often intricately decorated.

The sound of an oud is similar to me of a steel guitar.  Here’s a short clip of Abadi Al-Johar playing the oud at a concert in Dubai:

22 Responses

  1. A fine performance with a fine, ancient instrument. The western form being an adaptation called the Mandore, from which the Mandolin was created.
    I have a Mandolin upstairs, never was very good with it, I’m more a keyboard man.

  2. The sect I was in called all stringed instruments haraam; a tool to call the shaitun and the evil djinn. I have a CD called Tabla Turbo, and when my friend came over, he really threw a fit over it. No, I guess not marriage material. LOL

  3. Gwen, I recall, from your remarks a remark by the fictional character “Matt Helm”, “The fighting was started by an unfortunate remark, “I now pronounce you man and wife””. 😉

  4. the sound of the 3oud is so beautiful and magical! In a intimate setting the sound just takes you to a different world, especially when you’re just sitting back and smoking away on your sheesha lol. It’s the most central instrument in middle eastern music, expecially when it comes to 5aliji music!

    fast question: How many of you actually listen to middle eastern music? Particularly khaliji music?

  5. I have listened to Khaliji music, and I like Oud.

  6. I listen to khaliij music as well as many types of Middle Eastern music. I also like the music of Southeast Asia.

    I have a rebab from Afghanistan but do not know how to play it. One time I had a guest who picked it up and made it come alive. I’m also more of a keyboard person and relieve my stress with the piano!

  7. It is such a beautiful instrument! We have many CD’s featuring the Oud.

    Carol we have something in common – I play the piano for myself and as a stress reliever.

  8. Omeish .. we listen to Arabic music at home very often. We have a music station here that just plays Arabic music and it’s wonderful!

  9. Carol:

    It does sound very much like a steel guitar. I listen to various types of music including arabic music. As usual Saudi’s authorities are kill joys.

  10. @Wendy – If you are not aware of it, you may want to look at the site: as it offers free piano sheet music. I’ve found some great arrangements from this site.

    I’d like to say that the oud and other traditional instruments are considered part of Saudi’s heritage. I’ve been to many places where the oud has been played (in Saudi).

  11. King of Oud??? La hawla wala quwwata illah billah

  12. @MHUR – and I say to you ‘la howla quota la billah.’ We know that the reference in the video you posted about no music is implying rap or other types of western music. It is not meant to include a traditional instrument like the Oud. However I will also add that I personally am for expression of love and beauty through all kinds of music.

  13. Thanks for the link, Carol!

  14. You’re welcome, Wendy. Please let me know what you think.

  15. MHUR, there is a German saying: ”Dort wo mann singt lass Dich ruhig nieder, böse Menschen haben keine Lieder”

    Where there is singing you can lay yourself to rest, evil people have no songs.

    I am almost convinced that those people who condemn and forbid music must be very bad and evil.
    It’s one the the sickest things you can do, forbid and destroy art, literature and music.

  16. I prefer listening to Qur’an to Music

  17. Music is a blessing from Allah. The Quran is a blessing from Allah. I enjoy both. I also enjoy food, water and fresh air as blessings from Allah. In fact, most everything, in moderation is a blessing from Allah.

  18. The Oud seems to be basically the same as the European Lute. They come from the same ancient ancestors.

    There is some very beautiful lute music around, especially that composed by Weiss. Look for CDs on the Naxos label.

    Arabic and Persian oud music are also very nice to listen to.

  19. @Sandy: Music is forbidden just as alchohol is forbidden in Islam. There is no such thing as moderation when it comes to forbidden things. For example, are you allowed to drink in moderation in Islam? No! Same goes for music. Whatever is forbidden, you have to reject it completely.

    Now, I know that it is very difficult to accept why the music is forbidden. I will therefore refer you to the following lecture by Kamal El-Mekki where he has presented all the proofs of why music is not allowed in Islam.

    I hope that you listen to this lecture before you pass out statements like music is a blessing from Allah.

  20. @MHUR:

    I was about to post that oud breaking show. They have done the appropriate thing, but the manner of doing it was very funny 🙂

  21. I heard His music one or two time,and i like it specially the instrument he played,Nice post,Lovely like you.

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