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Composer • Performer • Music Educator • 1985 Fulbright Scholar
THE AMERICAN OUD®
Edward Hines' Beautiful New Lute
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Part Middle Eastern lute and part classical guitar, the American Oud® is the creation of composer, performer, and music educator Edward J. Hines. Like other lutes, the American Oud has a pear-shaped body, fretless fingerboard, and strings tuned to Middle Eastern standards. But its fretless fingerboard-a full octave in length-is similar to that of a classical guitar and significantly longer than Middle Eastern ouds, which have a range of a fifth.
Hines first considered combining the Middle Eastern oud with the classical guitar in 2005 while teaching public school music in Western Massachusetts. At that time he was already a former Fulbright scholar, successful composer, a professional music educator and singer as well as an accomplished performer on instruments including the 12-string guitar, bassoon, clarinet, Turkish baglama, Arabic buzuq and oud. His Yeni Makam series of original concert music for Western orchestral instruments--works based on Turkish and Arabic traditions-- had been published, recorded and performed.
Hines' prototype for his new oud was created in 2010 with the help of luthiers Owen Davidson and the late Peter Kyvelos. In early 2011 Hines commissioned Kyvelos to build the first professional model of the American Oud. From Kyvelos' collection of vintage and antique instruments, Hines selected a long forgotten Syrian bowl (the belly portion of the instrument) made in 1924, the year of his father’s birth. Kyvelos, widely recognized as a master luthier, added a soundboard, bracings, peg box, the one-octave neck, and a new finish. A beautiful, first-of-its-kind instrument was delivered in the fall of 2011, and with that, the work of learning how to play the new American Oud began.
Soft Sounds for a Loud World
For seven years Hines diligently worked on discovering the unique qualities and inherent tonalities of the instrument. The extended range of the fingerboard provided new territory to explore, along with a wide range of technical challenges to be mastered. Hines' work included new interpretations of Arabic and Turkish classical standards, traditional folk music and Western classical pieces, as well as his own concert music. The lyrical possibilities of the extended higher range enabled Hines, a trained operatic tenor, to develop an original style and sound.
In 2017 Hines applied for and received a registered trademark for the American Oud. After a few local 'test' appearances, Hines started performing more widely in the fall of 2018. Listeners experienced a sound that combines old-world traditions with a fresh approach to classical and world music.
Edward Hines is proud to bring the unique sound of his American Oud to adventurous audiences everywhere.