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About the Arabian Oud

Where did the Arabian Oud come from?

Persian legend tells that the Arabian oud was created by the sixth descendent of Adam: Lamech. He is said to have suspended the body of his deceased son from a tree and that the very first Arabian oud was made from the shape of the skeleton. From its morbid beginnings the instrument is depicted frequently during Mesopotamian history and in ancient Egypt. There are pictures of the Arabian oud on ancient clay tablets and papyrus paper in museums throughout the world. The Arabian oud has been a part of the music of each of the ancient civilizations that have existed around the Mediterranean and the Middle East.
Even though the Arabian oud is an ancient instrument and is associated mainly with Middle Eastern music, a lot of modern western musicians choose to integrate Arabian oud into their music, and its not uncommon to hear an Arabian oud in contemporary rock and pop songs as well as in jazz music.

How the Arabian oud got its name?

The name Arabian oud spelled ud in Arabic literally means twig and by suggestion piece of wood. It is believed to have been given this name (Arabian Oud) in Arabic in reference to the small pieces of wood used for the construction of the instruments delicate back. However, recent research has suggested that ud may simply be an Arabic version of the Persian name rud meaning stringed instrument. Ud can be poetically substituted with mizhar and the Arabian oud is also known as the barbat in Persian.

Parts of the Arabian Oud

The body of the Arabian oud is made from light weight wood. It has a rounded sound box attached to a small neck. The Arabian Oud's face is flat and pear-shaped, containing from one to three sound holes. The back of the Arabian oud is shaped like a bowl and made from many fine wooden strips. Its strings are attached to the bridge on the front of the oud and go over a nut at the top of the neck. There are a series of pegs contained in a peg box for tuning. The peg box is placed perpendicular to the ouds’ neck. The neck extends the upper part of the instrument by 20 cm and is inserted into the sound box up to the sound hole. A fretless fingerboard runs along the neck which is one of the most defining features of the Arabian oud.