The oud is a pear-shaped stringed instrument similar to the lute. It can be distinguished from the lute by its smaller neck and lack of frets. Both of these string instruments are regarded as ancestors of the guitar.
Ouds are commonly used in Arabic, Greek, Turkish, Persian, Jewish, Byzantine, Armenian, North African, Somali, and Middle Eastern music.
Modern day ouds are categorized as Arabic or Turkish, though the distinction has little to do with geography. Turkish ouds are popular in Greece and other parts of the Mediterranean. Iraqi, Egyptian, and Syrian ouds are popular throughout the Arab world, and are classified as Arabic ouds because of their similarities.
Lightly constructed Turkish ouds can be distinguished by their string courses, which are placed closer together. Turkish ouds are tuned a step higher than Arabic ouds, producing a sound that is taut and shrill. Arabic ouds are typically larger with a longer scale length. This produces a fuller and deeper sound.
More Oud Facts
A person who performs on this string instrument is called an oudist.
Notable oudists include Rahim Alhaj, Ahmed Alshaiba, Amer Ammouri, Anouar Brahem, Hamza El Din, H. Aram Gulezyan, Aarif Jaman, Saad Mahmood Jawad, Yuval Ron, Alan Shavarsh Bardezbanian, and Scott Wilson.
Angel Playing an Oud
Vintage Embossed Easter Postcard
Listen to the Oud
Performed by Ahmed Alshaiba
An instrumental interpretation of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” was arranged by Ahmed Alshaiba, a young musician from Yemen who now makes his home in New York City. The talented player is self-taught and likes to create a mix of eastern and western styles.
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Turkish Quality String Instrument Oud
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