Ud: Variations on Syriac Melodies
The sounds of the wilderness are here represented by music of the ud—the ten-stringed instrument of Psalms 33, 92 and 144. The ud—from which descended the lute (l’ud) and guitar—is an ancient stringed instrument still in use in the Middle East. Jubal, son to Lamak and brother to Noah, is traditionally credited with developing its earliest form. His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the ancestor of all those who play the lyre and pipe. Genesis 4:21 (NRSV) The transfer of terms for lyre and lute appears more subtly in the myth of the invention of the ud which has been handed down in two variants from the 9th and 10th centuries, the first being Iraqi (Robson, 1938) and the second Iranian (Mas’udi, 1874). They say that the ud was invented by Lamak [sixth grandson of Adam], a direct descendant of Cain; on the death of Lamak’s son, he hung his remains in a tree, and the desiccated skeleton suggested the form of the ud. The myth attributes the invention of the mi’zaf (lyre) to Lamak’s daughter.
(Stanley Sadie: The New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments, vol. 3, p. 688)
The ud invigorates the body. It places the temperament in equilibrium… It calms and revives hearts.
(Muhammad Shihab al-Din: Safinat al-mulk, p. 466)
“Ud: Variations on Syriac Melodies.” Maronite tradition, Chant Traditional Maronite, Elie Kesrouani, ud, Harmonia Mundi 1991. Track 15.
A Companion to Stiff
Shakers (the United Society of Believers) refer to the proud, rigid self within as “Old Stiff.” Gestures and stomping accompany a song such as this to help cast off impulses to turn away from God, echoing the manner in which Jesus rejected Satan’s attempt to divert him from what he was called to do and to be.
“A Companion to Stiff.” Shaker traditional, Simple Gifts: Shaker Chants and Spirituals, Daniel McCabe, Joel Cohen, director, Erato 1995. Track 10.
A companion to Stiff I will not be,
I’ll drive you off, I will be free.
The Gospel is free for everyone,
The Gospel is free for old and young.
Old Stiff, you have no business here,
’Tis time that you be gone,
I’ll give you a dismission here
So now, be gone, be gone!
It’s Up To Me
“It’s Up To Me,” Pennywise, Land of the Free?, Epitaph 2001. Track 10.
Held down by a heavy sky
I followed rules and I don’t know why
Ignored the options that I could not see
Indecision had a hold of me
Followed the path that was forced by fate
I never saw the hour was getting late
I never cared what I turned out to be
I sensed something wrong, now it’s up to me
I got the chance now I’m gonna take it
I don’t know I might not even make it
I'll follow rules that are made up by me
I wasted time too long now it’s up to me
It’s up to me–to be all I can be (R.W. Emerson)
It’s up to me
Looked to the past for some history
Looked for the sum of humanity
A list of laws they passed down through time
A ruthless plot to control my mind
I gotta make a plan for myself
Can’t look to you, can’t look to anybody else
Only this way am I truly free
I wasted time too long, now it’s up to me
all the rules that I see
have taken hold inside of me.
So much to lose so many kinds
One thing comes to mind–time
I gotta make a plan for my life
I gotta take the time to get it right
I gotta be the person I gotta be
I gotta make a plan and now
It’s up to me