There’s a lot of debate about what’s better: to be able to play flashy techniques and play really fast, or to be able to play with a lot of feeling and emotion in your playing.

What do you think?

Watch this video, then share with me your favourite Oud video from YouTube. Post a link in the comments section below, and tell me why you it’s your favourite.




Next week we will discuss how I learned how to apply techniques to a piece of music, and give you examples on how to learn this yourself.

4 thoughts on “Flashy Oud vs Emotional Oud: What’s better?

  1. Tony Mizen

    Hi Navid,

    This is one of my favourite Oud videos. It sounds so ‘raw’ and dark, beyond melody to pure experience, transcendent….

    1. Navid

      Thank you Tony!

  2. Osama Alamidi

    Hello Navid,

    I know few fast Oud songs, I don’t know if you’ve heard them before, but I’ll list them here:

    1. Flying Bird by Muneer Basheer
    This one I think the fastest I’ve ever heard by Munir Bashir

    I think the Flying Bird is made to visualize the image of a flying bird flapping its wings in the air, almost like a hummingbird or a sparrow. Also there’s a recording played by two Turkish players and Naseer Shamma:

    2. Longa Riad by Riad Al Sunbati (played by the talented Lebanese oud player Sharbel Rouhanna)

    Longas are essentially fast, so that shouldn’t come as a surprised. I also nominate another Longa by Saeed Sharaibi called “Longa Nagriz”

    3. This one is a traditional Kurdish song made specifically for a dabka (Kurdish traditional dance) played on oud by both Jamil ( and his brother Munir (

    If you ever heard a Kurdish dabka, you’ll notice the fast rhythm of them. In one recording of Jamil Bashir, he called it “Lawik” but the original song that they play is called Kevokim laylay كفوكم لي لي (

    4. Last one in this category is by Sa’ad Mahmoud and he claims that this is the way oud was originally played in Sumeria! If you couldn’t tell, he is Iraqi. (

    Now for slow or emotional songs. I generally consider most of the improvisations on maqams as emotional, but there are few songs that are emotional (they give me goosebumps every time I listen to them).

    1. Al Rasheed Street شارع الرشيد by Naseer Shamma

    This one just gets me every time because for me, it summarizes the soul of Iraq.

    2. Junaid by Jamil Bashir

    Now this one isn’t solely played by oud, but I love playing it one my oud on a loop! It has a very meditative feel. Junaid is the name of the oldest son of Jamil. (The channel that uploaded this video belongs to Junaid himself).

    3. Samai Rast by Tatyos Efendi

    I just love Rast. This samai I also love to play it on oud on a loop. Now Samais get faster in the middle, but the beginning is what I mostly enjoy.

    4. ‘Ashiq by Andre Msane

    5. Arap Saz Semaisi (Turkish name)
    Arabs call this same piece Samai Bayati Qadeem سماعي بياتي قديم

    I know more, but those are the best examples I can come up with at the moment. I’m sorry for the lengthy post though.


    1. Navid

      This is great, thanks for sharing. I always get exposed to more this way.

      I have never seen a Kurdish song played on Oud like THAT before (Jamil Bashir video). I grew up listening to the Kamkar family, so I am very familiar with their work.

      I also enjoyed the Sa’ad Mahmoud video. I wouldn’t have understood his explanation for that piece. Interesting.

      Thank you.

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