The The Sound of the ʻŪd ʻArbī: Evocations through Senses

Hearing and Touching the Instrument, Experiences of ʻŪd ʻArbī's Sound

  • Salvatore Morra Royal Holloway University of London


In this article, I discuss ways in which the Tunisian ʻūd ʻarbī with which people perform contemporary mālūf, one of urban Tunisia’s foremost musical genres, relate to its sound and players’ body. I explore the reflexive dynamic by which intersensorial experience (Connor, 2004) of ʻūd ʻarbī roots the instrument's sound in Tunisian society. Particular qualities– effects of the plectrum's special position and touches; hands movements, resonances and production of microtones for instance generate a timbre to enact its "Tunisian sound", becoming distinct and defining a territory.