The oud (or ud) is one of the most popular instruments in Middle Eastern music. Its name derives from the Arabic for 'wood', and this refers to the strips of wood used to make its rounded body. In Greece it is known as the outi and in Iran as the barbat. The neck of the oud, which is short in comparison to the body, has no frets and this contributes to its unique sound. The most common string combination is five pairs of strings tuned in unison and a single bass string, although up to thirteen strings may be found. Strings are generally made of nylon or gut, and are plucked with a plectrum known as a risha or mızrap. Another distinctive feature of the oud is its head, with the tuning pegs bent back at an angle to the neck. The oud used in the Arab world is slightly different to that found in Turkey, Armenia and Greece. Different tunings are used and the Turkish-style oud has a brighter tone than its Arab counterpart. The European lute is a descendant of the oud, from which it takes its name (al-oud).

The purpose of this site is to provide an information resource on all aspects of the oud. Please email me with any comments, or send me photos of your oud to appear in the Oud Gallery with as much info as possible on its history and construction.

Rahim AlHaj album, 'Infinite Hope' with Amjad Ali Khan & sons on sarod.
Franck Leriche album, 'Lattakia'.
Tareq Jundi album, 'Sowar (Pictures)'.
Abderraouf Ouertani album, 'Contes outre-méditerranéens'.
Mohamed El Qasabgi 2CD set, 'The Sultan of Oud' from the AMAR Foundation.
Nizar Rohana album, 'Furāt (Euphrates)'.
Joseph Tawadros album, 'World Music'.

 Events, websites, publications:
Oudmigrations is a website and blog dedicated to the journeys of Ottoman ouds, their histories, and the stories attached to their makers, players, and owners.
Oud for Guitarists is offering a Masterclass course for intermediate to advanced players.
Eric Ederer has published a comprehensive book entitled 'Makam and Beyond: a Progressive Approach to Near Eastern Music Theory'. It can be purchased as a paperback or PDF file from Lulu.com.
Mehmet Polat will be performing a series of concerts in Canada and the USA in August/September 2016 with his trio, featuring Victor Sams on ngoni/percussion and Pelin Başar on ney - full tour schedule here.
Adel Salameh will be giving masterclass seminars at the Labyrinth Musical Workshop, Crete from 22nd-27th August 2016.


Copyright © 2001-2016 David Parfitt  All rights reserved. Last updated 1st August 2016.