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JEDDAH: The Music Authority of Saudi Arabia is working to establish an institute to train musical talents in the country.

Bait Al Oud seeks to be an educational center for musicians so that they can obtain the required training in playing traditional Arabic instruments and learn about the role of instruments in the development of music culture in the region.

With a history dating back more than 3000 years, the Oud is one of the oldest and most important stringed instruments in the musical heritage of the Arab world and has played an important role throughout history.

The authority aims to develop the institute to be a globally recognized center, to spread awareness about Arab musical instruments, specifically the oud, and to preserve the heritage of Arab music.

“The oud is one of the most important stringed instruments,” Hassan Iskandarani, an oud player, told Arab News. “He has called it the ‘Sultan of Instruments’ and composers usually use it to make up their melodies.”

Traditional Arab musical instruments such as the oud, the duff, the rebab and the flute, which are used in many different celebrations in the Kingdom, have played a major role in the consolidation of the country’s musical culture and various forms of musical expression.

There are different types of ouds – including Iraqi, Syrian, Egyptian, and Turkish – and they are played in different styles throughout the region.

In recent decades, the kingdom has become home to talented composers, singers and oud players.

Many people in the kingdom enjoy the quintessential devotional act known as “octopus oud”.

Besides the essence, there is Talal Salameh and Aseel Abu Bakr Salim who to this day influence a new, emerging generation of Saudi oud players.

Oud is characterized by being fretless and pear-shaped. It is traditionally made of light wood, has a short neck, and is usually built with 11 threads.

Being motionless, the oud is a versatile instrument that gives musicians the freedom to produce more fluid notes without having to re-tune.

And unlike other stringed instruments that usually have one large hole in the middle, an oud can have up to three holes, giving it a distinct, subtle tone.

This makes it ideally suited for musicians to play the maqam, a system of melodic structure used in traditional Arabic music.

Like other ancient musical instruments, the oud has admirers and admirers who enjoy listening to its tunes.

But, had it not been for some of the musical greats, the legacy of the oud would likely have been lost. We cannot talk about the machine without mentioning the legends that made it what it is today.

The oud passed on to prominent musicians, from “King of the Oud” Farid al-Atrash, to Marcel Khalife in Lebanon, Munir Bashir and Nasir Shamma in Iraq, and Muhammad al-Qasabji in Egypt.

There are many beliefs about the origin of this musical instrument. It is believed to have evolved from Persian Parbat and was used during the Kassite and Babylonian period in Mesopotamia, which later made its way to Europe via North Africa.

The institute, which will be run by elite musicians, aims to be a regional center for Saudis of all ages to learn and develop the techniques of playing Arabic musical instruments.

The Bait Al Oud Institute will contribute to the development of various types of stringed instruments. In addition, it will encourage the development of young musical talents,” said Iskandarani. “Through the institute, it will be a forum for great music legends and new emerging musicians to exchange ideas, experiences, and culture for continued development.”

The institute will also serve as a platform for musicians to share and perform their musical projects with audiences who enjoy listening to oud performances.

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