Tuning of oud


Let's see the tunes for Oud and let's analyse their differences, because someone who isn’t familiar with Oud instrument, may have difficulty with so many tunes. The differences can be seen mainly in the fact that one Oud is tuned low and the other is tuned high. Arabian Oud musicians use mainly the 5 double strings and its tune is G - A - D - G - C. Also exists also with 5 double strings and one «independent» and the tune is D - G - A- D- G - C or D - E - A- D- G - C. It would be ridden the below tunings starting from the lowest to the highest (C) meaning that the basically is the 5-th (G) or 6-th (D) string and the first one (C) is the highest. The Turkish Oud has mainly 5 double strings and one string «independent», which is known as «bam» and the tune is E - A - B - E - A - D, or E - FA# - B - E - A - D. These are the basic Oud tunings. Many times, the tune of the musical instrument can change accordingly to the desires of the artist and the style of the song. This means that many Oud players tune differently, some of them tune high and others tune low. In Iraq for example the most common tuning is the one of Munir Basher's (F - C - D - G - C - F) which is very high in tuning. If we do not want to get complicated with so many different kind of tunings, let's look at the spaces on the four first (high) strings of Oud. We observe that all spaces are the same, which means that they have a fourth space, for example Arabian (A - D - G - C) which is low, Turkish (B - E - A - D) which is high, Iraqi (D - G - C - F) which is higher. All tunings have spaces of four, which means they are the same. The differences between all these tunings, could be found especially on the fifth and sixth string (bam). Some musicians tune them (the strings) in spaces of four like the tuning of rest strings, and others like «isokrates» meaning always the same tune. The «isokrates» tuning is performed by tuning the fifth string and the second string to have the same tune and the sixth with the third also the same tuning. Also, there are some variations, like the 6th lone and the first can have the same tuning. For example, my tunings were at first the Turkish (E - F# - B - E - A - D) which is high and finally I led up to the Arabian tuning (D - E - A - D - G - C) which is low. My oud has five double strings and one lone. So, I have tuned them all at four spaces except the one lone (bam) which has the same tuning with third D. We must mention here for the lone string, called also bass, or bam, and which in the past, was the first from the bottom side of oud, so it was the first from the high strings (we see Munir Basher playing like that).