Performing the Present

Improvisation and Composition in Solo Oud Performance

Researcher:
Nizar Rohana
Supervising team:
Joep Bor (promotor), prof. Frans de Ruiter (promotor)
Musician type:
strings
Keywords:
arabic music, composition, improvisation, oud, performance, taqsim
Duration:
2013 - 2021
Century:
20th century music, 21st century music

researcher

Abstract

In this project, Rohana aims to further develop and enrich his improvisation and composition skills and techniques, and to develop a framework to continually expand his performance repertoire. 

An investigation of the taqasim recordings of four of the leading figures of oud playing in the 20th century, namely the Egyptians Muhammad Al-Qasabji (1892-1964) and Riyad Al-Sunbati (1906-1981), and the Iraqis Jamil Bashir (1920-1977) and Munir Bashir, will form the bases of development of Rohana's improvisation skills in this project. By reflecting on, analyzing, and performing their taqasim, he aims to underline and conceptualize creative and innovative practices of each player, and adapt and combine these practices in his own improvisation performance.  

An analysis of key oud compositions from the standard repertoire that is widely performed and taught in Arabic music conservatories, together with compositions by contemporary oud players forms the other dimension of his artistic research within this project. Through this investigation he aims to familiarize himself with different approaches to composition, and acquire new tools that will enable him to develop original compositions that will expand his performance repertoire in new directions. 

By articulating this embodied knowledge he aims to contribute to both the practice of improvisation and composition of instrumental Arabic music, more specifically the solo oud performance. 

Related events

15 December 2021 (13.45)

PhD Defense Nizar Rohana

‘Ūd Taqsīm as a Model of Pre-Composition

On December 15, Nizar Rohana will defend his PhD thesis ‘Ūd Taqsīm as a Model of Pre-Composition at Leiden University.

This research discusses the creation of several finished works for solo ‘ūd. These pieces take the improvisation practice of two pillars of modern Arabic music, namely the Egyptians Muḥammad al-Qaṣabjī and Riyāḍ al-Sunbāṭī, as a reference model and as a source of inspiration.

14 December 2021 (20.00)

PhD Concert Nizar Rohana

‘Ūd Taqsīm as a Model of Pre-Composition

On December 14 Nizar Rohana will present the artistic outcomes of his research project in a a concert at Sijthoff in Leiden.

Nizar will perform several new works for solo ‘ūd. These pieces take the improvisation practice of two pillars of modern Arabic music, namely the Egyptians Muḥammad al-Qaṣabjī and Riyāḍ al-Sunbāṭī, as a reference model and as a source of inspiration.