Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


Oud is a stringed musical instrument, still in use in many Arabic cultures. Related to the European lute, its name is derived from the Arabic word for Wood which is probably the name of tree the Oud was made from. (Al-'ud became 'lute'.) The Oud is not fretted and was and still used by many arabic composers for composition. Live performances don't rely heavily on Oud, for another instrument the Qanoun can produce similar sound and is more pragmatic, mainly because of it's ability to produce wider range of sounds and with higher amplititudes. The oud's features are similar to the guitar: a sound box, five to eight pairs of strings (except the "bassest" or lowest string which usually have one string) which are called Awtar (singular watar), a shorter neck (relative to the guitar) called al-raqeba, at least one hole (Some have several) called Al-qamaria, a bridge called al Ghazala, and keys for toning the strings called mafateeh. The bridge and the strings are knot in a similar fashion of the flamenco guitar. The soundbox of the Oud is usually parabolic in shape, by that it doesn't have a straight back as the guitar. The pluck or the reeshe for the oud is usually an index-finger long, and is made from beard's feather (thus the name; usually an ostrich feather), but contemporarily plastic plucks are used. Oud is very famous in arabic countries due to the fact that it's easy to improvise on the oud unlike other instruments which either require accompaniment or are too complex to play.