Origin of the oud

For most people, the oud is an old instrument that time has forgotten except maybe in the Middle East. There, the oud is considered to be “the king of instruments”.

It is assumed that the name  العود(oud) literally means a thin piece of wood. It may also refer to the wooden plectrum traditionally used for playing the oud. The instrument was brought by Arabs to Spain in the early Middle Ages and developed into what we know today as the ‘lute’. This is a corruption of the Arabic name.

The person who plays the oud professionally is called Awwaad. This is also a very common family name, reflecting the popularity and importance of this instrument. An oud player might be sitting just inside the door of a restaurant.

But to play the instrument well, you need to master how it works. Unlike the guitar, the oud is more sensitive and there are lots of nuances that give you a variety of sounds.
The fact that the oud has no frets means that the slightest movement of your fingers gives a different sound and scale. Once you fully master it, it gives you a lot of opportunity for innovation, unlike most instruments. The oud can definitely be used for modern music.

Design and features of the oud

There are mainly two distinctive features of this musical instrument – one is its pear-shaped body and the second is its fretless neck. 

The sound of the oud vibrates within its hollow body. The instrument consists of 11 strings. Among them, 10 strings are paired together, whereas, the lowest string remains single.

The peg box from the neck of the oud is bent back at a 45-90° angle.

For more information about the Arabic out, watch the informative video below.



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