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).

Oudipedia is 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.

Mehmet Polat album 'Ageless Garden'.
Driss El Maloumi album with 3MA, 'Anarouz'.
Gad Tidhar album 'Baharim - An Oud Fantasy'.
Navid Goldrick album, 'Formations'.
Joseph Tawadros album, 'Live at Abbey Road'.

 Events, websites, publications:
Makam Music – Beauty and Diversity is a project by Fernando Martin, in which he has composed 100 pieces of music based on 100 different makamlar/maqamat identified through extensive research.
Charbel Rouhana has produced a new two-volume oud method in Arabic/English, Maqam El Oud.
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. (Now available in Arabic too!)


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Copyright © 2001-2018 David Parfitt  All rights reserved. Last updated 14th March 2018.