The importance of the Higher Institute of Music stemmed from the development of the oud instrument, starting from its founding in 1991, as this instrument was among the specializations of the institute, so it changed the methodology of learning it by composing a curriculum for it that parallels the curriculum of other stringed instruments, in addition to accompanying the oud playing the piano with automatic musical works that were organized within the academic study.
The Oud section has been developing year after year in conjunction with the progress of a large number of students to this specialty, but the capacity of the institute imposes a specific number of students, which is determined by the admission conditions, provided that the applicant is technically proficient in a high level in terms of playing, in addition to criteria related to With feeling and emotion and translating them with music and understanding the maqamat and having the appropriate tools.
The Institute presented a project under the supervision of the head of the Department of Arabic Music, the able musician Muhammad Othman, in which he highlighted the oud and bouzouki players in Syria and the Arab world, and made the eastern oud instrument play all kinds of music. on it, especially within the prevailing musical atmosphere.
The institute’s professors also formed a band (Music Quintet from the Spirit of the East), which writes music for this instrument, with the aim of continuing its presence with the qanun and other oriental instruments on the one hand, and preserving the oriental musical templates in terms of composition.
After their graduation, the Institute allows students to take the first step on the path of their professional project towards professionalism by holding concerts on the theaters of Dar Al-Assad for Culture and Arts. different that the musician only acquires in this way.
Since the founding of the Institute, the Oud has been present with musical experiments with the orchestra, which proved its success in an impressive manner on Syrian hands who are passionate about developing all fields of this instrument, specifically in terms of teaching. Among them were the musicians Nuri Iskandar and Kamal Skiker, not to mention the musician Muhammad Othman’s presentation of a two-part book of the most important exercises on the instrument. This machine.
The oud instrument maintains its presence with many teams and students of institutes affiliated with the Ministry of Culture, whether in Damascus or the governorates, in light of the great insistence of the students’ families to teach them about this instrument, which is part of our culture and human history.
In an interview with SANA, the dean of the Higher Institute of Music, Maestro Adnan Fathallah, said: “Through studying the oud instrument at the institute for some years, we relied on technical training and works from Arabic music and prepared it in order to suit the specificity of this instrument, which makes the oud player a graduate of the institute who studies all musical sciences. Theoretical and scientific, he possesses high technical capabilities and skills in playing and finding musical solutions through exercises, in addition to hearing progressions on the oud instrument accompanied by the piano, and this improves his rhythm and harmony with other instruments.
Regarding the academic classification of the Syrian oud player, Maestro Fathallah pointed out that in the field of playing the oud, the student graduates with high techniques, in addition to preparing works of classical music on the oud instrument, which made Syria one of the few countries that teach such a curriculum, and this is thanks to the Azerbaijani expert Askar. Ali Akbar, who was present at the Institute in 1993, and stayed for more than twenty years, so he carried this curriculum with him and changed the thought of teaching on this machine and left many works that are still a basic rule in education at the Institute.
Maestro Fathallah explained that the workshops that are held on a regular basis constituted a real opportunity for the students, through which many senior musicians came to visit the institute and present their ideas, experiences and projects of their own. The late Mounir Bashir, who visited Syria and spread his creativity with a concert at the Al-Assad National Library in Damascus, as well as the musician Khaled Muhammad Ali.
Fathallah confirmed that many Syrian musicians have contributed to enriching the Syrian music library and supplemented it with works for the oud accompanied by the piano.
Maestro Fathallah pointed out the existence of a stringed instrument maintenance workshop that works to maintain the readiness of the instruments in the institute, and they are maintained by specialized experts such as the music expert Issa Awad.
Regarding the reason for his specialization in the oud instrument, Fathallah recounts at the end of his speech that he grew up in a musical environment that has a long history and a distinguished relationship with oriental music and the oud instrument in particular, where he said: “I did not imagine that I could translate my feelings except through the oud instrument, and he remained my loyal friend and composed many pieces.” For this instrument, I gave them names such as (Atifah and Sama’i Nahawand from the inspiration of Damascus and Lunga Hijaz). I had my experience with the orchestra, and I am currently writing a third experiment with the National Symphony Orchestra consisting of two movements, out of my keenness for the oud to remain present and to be sung to its melodies by many generations to come. .
Shaza Hammoud and Amani Farooj
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