All about the Oud, Ud Lute instrument

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The definition of the Oud instrument by Ziryab


Literally, the Oud mean pice of wood, written Al Farabi, Ziryab and Ibn Khaldun, the Oud named El Barbat at first and invention by Lamakh, the 6th generation after Adam. 

According to El-Farabi, the Oud dates back to the days of Lamech; a sixth-generation descendant of Adam. Lamech was known as the “Father of the Oud players”.  The first appearance of the Oud was 3000 BC. The desecrated skeleton suggested the form of the Oud.  Oud is known as the first stringed instrument in history.

The oldest pictorial record of a Oud dates back to the Uruk period in Southern Mesopotamia (Iraq), over 5000 years ago on a cylinder seal acquired by Dr. Dominique Collon and the seal is currently housed at the British Museum.


2As the Oud becomes the quintessence of earlier chordophones, it also constitutes their functional synthesis. In the 9th century, Miwardi, the jurist of Baghdad, extolled its use in treating illness, such as King David did through his life with his Oud.  The Oud was in the hands of Egyptians and Iraqis when the Israelites came out of Egypt. They took the Oud with them to the Holy Land. The Oud still maintains its Egyptian and Iraqi features and musical stylings. The Oud was played in sacred places such as the temples of Egypt.

The Oud started with two strings and a long neck around 3000 BC. In 2350 BC, the scientists began making different developments; evolving the standards, sizes and increasing the number of strings, until it reached six as we have now.

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The Guitar, The Lute and The Oud

All about the Oud, Ud Lute instrument

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The Guitar, The Oud and The Lute Instrument

Lutes are generally thought to have originated in Mesopotamia around 2000 BC, from which they traveled both west to Europe and east to Asia. Many different designs and variations on the basic design have existed through the ages. The long lute, having a neck longer than the body, which date back to around 2000 BC, has modern descendents in several countries (e.g., the tar of Turkey and Iran, the sitar and vina of India, the bouzouki of Greece, the tambura of India and Yugoslavia, and the ruan of China). The short lute, which dates from about 800 BC, is the ancestor of the European lute as well as many other plucked string instruments around the world.


Oud instrument looks like


The European lute first appeared in the thirteenth century, deriving its name from the Arabic phrase “al-oud,” which means “made of wood.” The lute is one of the most attractive and delicate of all Renaissance musical instruments. Its principal characteristics are an exceptional lightness of construction, a rounded back con- structed from a number of ribs, and a peg-box set at an angle to the fingerboard.

Instruments of the sixteenth century generally had eleven strings in six courses (all but the uppermost consisting of two unison strings), which might be tuned to A2, D3, G3, B3, E4, and A4, although the tuning was often changed to fit the music being played. Sometimes the lower three courses were tuned in octaves.

In the seventeenth century, an increasing number of bass courses were added. These usually ran alongside the fingerboard, so that they were unalterable in pitch during playing. Lundberg (1987) describes a family of Italian sixteenth/ seventeenth-century lutes as follows:

Small octave: four courses, string length 30 cm; Descant: seven courses, string length 44 cm;


The Oud conceder to be tuned from the top F2, A3, D3, G3, C3, F,3 to cover the midrange octave of the Piano and the main rang singing octave of the human voice,


The Guitars and Lutes

Alto: seven courses, string length 58 cm;
Tenor: seven courses, string length 67 cm;
Bass: seven courses, string length 78 cm; Octave bass: seven courses, string length 95 cm.

The pear-shaped body of the lute is fabricated by gluing together a number (from 9 up to as many as 37) of thin wooden ribs. The table or sound board is usually fabricated from spruce, 2.5–3.0 mm thick, although other woods, such as cedar and cypress, have also been used.


Acoustics of the European Short Lute

Only a few studies on the acoustical behavior of lutes have been reported. Firth (1977) measured the input admittance (driving point mobility) at the treble end of the bridge and the radiated sound level 1 m away.

Firth associates the peak at 132 Hz with the Helmholtz air mode and the peaks at 304, 395, and 602 Hz with resonances in the top plate. Figure 3.27 illustrates five such resonances and also shows how the positions of the nodal lines are related to the locations of the bars. The resonances at 515 and 652 Hz are not excited to any extent by a force applied to the bridge because they have nodes very close to the bridge.

Acoustics of the Turkish Long-Necked Lute

The Turkish tanbur is a long-necked lute with a quasi-hemispherical body shell made of 17, 21, or 23 thin slices of thickness 2.5–3.00 mm. The slices are usually cut from ebony, rosewood, pearwood, walnut, or cherry. The sound board is made of a thin (1.5–2 mm) spruce panel. It has neither a sound hole or braces. The strings


Rossing and G. Caldersmith

Barring pattern and nodal patterns in the top plate of a lute at five resonances; (b) locations of nodes compared to the bridge and the bars (Firth 1977)

are stretched between a raised nut and a violin-like bridge The long neck (73.5–84 cm), which is typically made of ebony or juniper, hosts 5,258 movable frets of gut or nylon. The tanbur has seven strings, six of them grouped in pairs, and the lowest string, tuned to A1, is single. The pairs are tuned to A2, D2, and again A2 (or alternatively A2, E2,and A2).

The impulse response of the tanbur body for three orthogonal force impulses applied to bridge are shown in Fig. 3.29. These responses include the effects of driving point admittance of the bridge, the vibration of body and neck, and the directivity of the radiation pattern. These responses were recorded in an anechoic room (Erkut et al. 1999).

Modal Shapes

A modal shape represents the motion of the guitar in a normal mode of vibration. Optical methods give the best spatial resolution of a given operational deflection shape (ODS), which in many cases closely resembles a normal mode. Optical methods include holographic interferometry, speckle-pattern interferometry, and scanning laser vibrometry.

Another technique for obtaining modal shapes, called experimental modal testing, excites the guitar body with a force hammer and uses an accelerometer to

3 Guitars and Lutes 29

Fig. 3.12 Holographic interferograms of a classical guitar top plate at several resonances. Resonance frequencies and Q-values (a measure of the sharpness of the resonance) are given (Richardson and Roberts 1985)

sense its motion. The force hammer is moved from point to point in a grid, and a frequency response function (FRF) determined for each point of excitation. The resulting FRFs are processed by a computer and the modal shape is determined by use of a curve-fitting program.

3.3 String Forces

A player can alter the tone of a guitar by adjusting the angle through which the string is plucked. Not only do forces parallel and perpendicular to the bridge excite different sets of resonances, but they result in tones that have different decay rates, as shown in Fig. 3.13. When the string is plucked perpendicular to the top plate, a strong but rapidly decaying tone is obtained. When the string is plucked parallel to the plate, on the other hand, a weaker but longer tone results. Thus, a guitar tone can be regarded as having a compound decay rate, as shown in Fig. 3.13 (bottom). The spectra of the initial and final parts of the tone vary substantially, as do the decay rates.

Classical guitarists use primarily two strokes, called apoyando and tirando (sometimes called the rest and free strokes). The fingernail acts as sort of a ramp, converting some of the horizontal motion of the finger into vertical motion of the string, as shown in Fig. 3.14. Although the apoyando stroke tends to induce slightly more vertical string motion, there is little difference between the two strokes in this

30 T.D. Rossing and G. Caldersmith

Fig. 3.13 Decay rates of guitar tone for different plucking directions (Jansson 1983)

Fig. 3.14 Finger motion and resulting string motion of apoyando and tirando strokes. In the apoyando stroke, the finger comes to rest on an adjacent string; in the tirando stroke, it rises enough to clear it (Taylor 1978)

regard. However, the player can change the balance between horizontal and vertical string motion by varying the angle of the fingertip (Taylor 1978).

Guitar Sound Radiation

Sound radiation from a guitar, like most musical instruments, varies with direction and frequency. Even with sinusoidal excitation at a single point (such as the bridge), the radiated sound field is complicated because several different modes of vibration with different patterns of radiation may be excited at the same time. Figure 3.15


Guitars and Lutes 31

Fig. 3.15 Mechanical frequency response and sound spectrum one meter in front of a Martin D-28 steel-string guitar driven by a sinusoidal force of 0.15 N applied to the treble side of the bridge. The solid curve is the sound spectrum; the dashed curve is acceleration at the driving point

Fig. 3.16 Sound radiation patterns at four resonance frequencies in a Martin D-28 folk guitar (compare with Fig. 3.7 which show the corresponding modal shapes) (Popp and Rossing 1986)

shows the sound spectrum one meter in front of a Martin D-28 folk guitar in an anechoic room when a sinusoidal force of 0.15 N is applied to the treble side of the bridge. Also shown is the mechanical frequency response curve (acceleration level versus frequency). Note that most of the mechanical resonances result in peaks in the radiated sound, but that the strong resonances around 376 and 436 Hz (which represent “seesaw” motion; see Fig. 3.11) do not radiate strongly in this direction. The mode at 102 Hz radiates efficiently through the sound hole.

Figure 3.16 shows polar sound radiation patterns in an anechoic room for the modes at 102, 204, 376, and 436 Hz. The modes at 102 and 204 Hz radiate quite efficiently in all directions, as would be expected in view of the mode shapes (see Fig. 3.7). Radiation at 376 Hz, however, shows a dipole character, and at 436 Hz a strong quadruple character is apparent, as expected from Fig. 3.7 (Popp and Rossing 1986).

32 T.D. Rossing and G. Caldersmith

Fig. 3.17 Comparison of the sound level of the fundamentals of played notes (bars) to the guitar frequency response function (solid curve) with its level adjusted for a good fit. A graph of the rate of sound decay (dB/s) versus frequency similarly follows the frequency response curve (Caldersmith and Jansson 1980)

The output spectrum of a guitar may be calculated by multiplying the bridge force spectrum by the frequency response function of the guitar body. This is greatly complicated, however, by the rapid change in the force spectrum with the time after the pluck (see Fig.3.13). Caldersmith and Jansson (1980) measured the initial sound level and the rate of sound decay for played notes on guitars of high and medium quality. They found that both the initial sound level and the rate of decay replicate the frequency response curve of a guitar, as shown in Fig. 3.17. At strong resonances, however, the initial levels are slightly lower, and the levels decay faster than predicted by the frequency response curves.

3.5 Quality

Rating the sound quality of classical guitars and how the quality depends on design and construction details have been studied by several investigators. According to Jansson (2002), most guitar players feel that tonal strength or carrying power is the most important single quality criterion, with tone length and timbre being the second most important. In the previous section, we mentioned how the initial sound level and rate of sound decay depends upon the resonances of a guitar body.

Tones from recorded music were analyzed in the form of long time average spectra (LTAS), and it was found that better guitars have a higher level up to 3,000 Hz. Comparing two guitars, it was found that the less good guitars tended to have a lower level below 2,000 Hz and above 400 Hz (Jansson 2002).


The Guitars and The Oud

Lute and Guitar Sound


Some extensive listening tests were conducted at the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt in Germany to try to correlate quality in guitars to their measured frequency response (Meyer 1983). Some of the features that correlated best with high quality were:

1. The peak level of the third resonance (around 400 Hz);
2. The amount by which this resonance stands above the resonance curve level; 3. The sharpness (Q value) of this resonance;
4. The average level of one-third-octave bands in the range 80–125 Hz;
5. The average level of one-third-octave bands in the range 250–400 Hz;
6. The average level of one-third-octave bands in the range 315–5,005 Hz;
7. The average level of one-third-octave bands in the range 80–1,000 Hz;
8. The peak level of the second resonance (around 200 Hz).

3.5.1 Influence of Design and Construction

Meyer found that using fewer struts, varying their spacing, adding transverse bracing and reducing the size of the bridge, to have desirable effects (Meyer 1983). He experimented with several different bridge shapes and found that a bridge without “wings” gave the best result.

Jansson (2002) found the following order of importance for different parts in determining quality:

1. Bridge
2. Top plate thickness 3. Cross bars or struts.

So-called “frame” guitar designs have a rigid waist bar to inhibit leakage of vibrational energy from the lower bout to the upper bout and other parts of the guitar.


 The Bridge

The bridge has a marked stiffening effect on the top plane, and thus affects the vibrations. For a heavy bridge the frequency of the first top plate resonance may decrease, the mass giving a larger contribution than the stiffness increase. Hand- made Spanish bridges tend to be considerably lighter and less rigid than factory- made bridges. For low frequencies the mass increase may dominate, but at higher frequencies the stiffening effect dominates (Jansson 2002).

3.5.3 Thickness of the Top Plate and Braces

Richardson and Roberts (1985) studied the influence of top plate and strut thickness with finite-element modeling using a computer. At the start, the plate thickness

34 T.D. Rossing and G. Caldersmith

Fig. 3.18 Lattice bracing of a guitar top plate used by Australian luthier Greg Smallman. Struts are typically of carbon-fiber- epoxy, thickest at the bridge and tapering away from the bridge in all directions (Caldersmith and Williams 1986)

was 2.9 mm, and the struts were 14 mm high and 5 mm wide. Their calculations showed that the cross struts gave a large influence at least for the low resonances. A reduction in strut height also results in a large influence on the resonance frequen- cies. Reduction in top plate thickness, especially thinning along the edge, has the greatest effect of all.

Richardson and his students have also found that reducing the effective mass has a great effect on radiation of high-frequency sound, even more than tuning the mode frequencies (Richardson 1998). The effective mass is difficult to control, however, after the choice of materials and general design has been made. Of primary importance is the effective mass of the fundamental sound board mode.

Australian luthier Greg Smallman, who builds guitars for John Williams, has enjoyed considerable success by using lightweight top plates supported by a lattice of braces, the heights of which are tapered away from the bridge in all directions, as shown in Fig. 3.18. Smallman generally uses struts of carbon-fiber-epoxy expoxied to balsa wood (typically 3 mm wide and 8 mm high at their tallest point) in order to achieve high stiffness-to-mass ratio and hence high-resonance frequencies or “lightness” (Caldersmith and Williams 1986).

3.5.4 Asymmetrical and Radial Bracing

Although many classical guitars are symmetrical around their center plane, a number of luthiers (e.g., Hauser in Germany and Ramirez in Spain, Schneider and Eban in the United States) have had considerable success by introducing varying degrees of asymmetry into their designs. Most asymmetric guitars have shorter but thicker struts on the treble side, thus making the plate stiffer. Three such top plate designs are shown in Fig. 3.19.

3 Guitars and Lutes 35

Fig. 3.19 Examples of asymmetric top plates: (a) Ramirez (Spain); (b) Fleta (Spain); (c) Eban (United States)

Fig. 3.20 Holographic interferograms showing modal shapes of two low-frequency modes at 101 and 304 Hz in a radially braced classical guitar (Rossing and Eban 1999)

The very asymmetric design in Fig. 3.19c was proposed by Kasha (1974) and developed by luthiers Richard Schneider, Gila Eban, and others. It has a split asymmetric bridge (outlined by the dashed line) and closely spaced struts of varying length. A waist bar (WB) bridges the two long struts and the sound hole liner.

Despite its asymmetry the vibrational modal shapes, at least at low frequency, are quite similar to other good classical guitars, as shown in the holographic interfero- grams in Fig. 3.20. The particular guitar in this modal study had a one-piece bridge and radial bracing in the back plate as well as the top plate. Other luthiers have had considerable success with radial bracing. Australian luthier Simon Marty uses a radial bracing of balsa or cedar reinforced with carbon fiber. Trevor Gore has had success using falcate bracing with curved braces of balsa and carbon fiber.

3.6 A Family of Scaled Guitars

Members of guitar ensembles (trios, quartets) generally play instruments of similar design, but Australian physicist/luthier Graham Caldersmith has created a new family of guitars especially designed for ensemble performance. (Actually, he has created two such families: one of classical guitars and one of steel-string folk guitars). His classical guitar family, including a treble guitar, a baritone guitar,

36 T.D. Rossing and G. Caldersmith

and a bass guitar in addition to the conventional guitar – which becomes the tenor of the family – has been played and recorded extensively by the Australian quartet Guitar Trek (Caldersmith 1995).

Caldersmith’s guitar families include carefully scaled instruments, the tunings and resonances of which are translated up and down by musical fourths and fifths, in much the same way as the Hutchins–Schelleng violin octet (see Chap. 18). Calder- smith’s bass guitar is a four-string instrument tuned the same as the string bass and the electric bass (E1, A1, D2, G2), an octave below the four lowest strings of the standard guitar. The baritone is a six-string instrument tuned a musical fifth below the standard, while the treble is tuned a musical fourth above the standard, being then an octave above the baritone. Caldersmith uses an internal frame, but a graded rectangular lattice instead of the diagonal lattice (see Fig. 3.21). The Australian Guitar Quartet is shown in Fig. 3.22.

Fig. 3.21 Caldersmith guitar with internal frame and rectangular lattice

Fig. 3.22 The Australian Guitar Quartet play on scaled guitars: bass and baritone by Graham Caldersmith, standard and treble by Greg Smallman and Eugene Philp


Guitars and Lutes 37

3.7 Synthetic Materials

Traditionally guitars have top plates of spruce or redwood with backs and ribs of rosewood or some comparable hardwood. Partly because traditional woods are sometimes in short supply, luthiers have experimented with a variety of other woods, such as cedar, pine, mahogany, ash, elder, and maple. Bowls of fiberglass, used to replace the wooden back and sides of guitars, were developed by the Kaman company in 1966; their Ovation guitars have become popular, partly because of their great durability.

One of the first successful attempts to build a guitar mostly of synthetic materials was described by Haines et al. (1975). The body of this instrument, built to the dimensions of a Martin folk guitar, used composite sandwich plates with graphite- epoxy facings around a cardboard core. In listening tests, the guitar of synthetic material was judged equal to the wood standard for playing scales, but inferior for playing chords. In France, Charles Besnainou and his colleagues have constructed lutes, violins, violas, cellos, double basses, and harpsichords, as well as guitars, using synthetic materials (Besnainou 1995).


3.8 Other Families of Guitars

Most of our discussion has been centered on classical guitars, with occasional compar- ison to the steel-string American folk (flat top) guitar. There are several other types of acoustic guitars in use throughout the world, including flamenco, archtop, 12-string, jazz, resonator, etc. Portuguese guitars will be discussed in Chap. 4. Some Asian plucked string instruments of the lute family will be discussed in Chap. 11.

The gypsy guitar, known in France as the manouche guitar, gained popularity in the late 1920s. Played by Django Reinhardt throughout his career, the instrument has seen a revival in interest. The community of gypsy jazz players today is a small, but growing one, and the original Selmer–Maccaferri guitars are highly valued and widely copied. Its low-gauge strings offer its player a brighter, more metallic tone, with an ease for creating a very distinct vibrato (Lee et al. 2007).


C. Besnainou (1995). “From wood mechanical measurements to composite materials for musical instruments: New technology for instrument makers.” MRS Bull. 20(3), 34–36.

R. R. Boullosa (1981). “The use of transient excitation for guitar frequency response testing.” Catgut Acoust. Soc. Newsl. 36, 17.

G. Caldersmith (1995). “Designing a guitar family.” Appl. Acoust. 46, 3–17.
G. W. Caldersmith and E. V. Jansson (1980). “Frequency response and played tones of guitars.” Quarterly Report STL-QPSR 4/1980, Department of Speech Technology and Music Acoustics,

Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm, pp. 50–61.
G. Caldersmith and J. Williams (1986). “Meet Greg Smallman.” Am. Lutherie 8, 30–34.
O. Christensen and R. B. Vistisen (1980) “ Simple model for low-frequency guitar function.”

J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 68, 758–766.
C. Erkut, T. Tolonen, M. Karjalainen, and V. V€alim€aki (1999). “Acoustical analysis of tanbur, a

Turkish long-necked lute.” Proceedings 6th International Congress on Sound and Vibration.

Wonderful explanation of the Lute and Guitar has been done by Thomas Rossing, search source The Science of String Instruments

الفارابي والة العود

All about the Oud, Ud Lute instrument, Blogs

الة العود العربي

الفارابي عازف العود الكبير 

 لماذا توجد فتحات أمامية في وجه الة العود؟

يقول أن أبو نصر محمد الفارابي ”عازف العود والعالم العربي الكبير ومؤلف كتب الزمان, ومنطق الفارابي, والعقل والمعقول“ أنه كان يوماً نائماً بعد فترة عزف علي العود طالت اكثر من أثنتي عشرة ساعة متواصلة,  أنه بعدما أستغرق في النوم, جاء فأر وبدأ يأكل أجزاء بسيطة من وجه الخشبي لالة العود, فبعدما قام الفارابي من النوم, وجد الة العود ”التي كانت مكونة من صندوق خشبي مصمد, ليس له فتحات من قبل“ أنها قد تم تأكل الوجه بسبب الفأر.

أنزعج جداً بعدما عرف أن الة العود قد تلفت, ولم يستطع العزف بعد. ولكنه بدأ يجرب ما أذا كان كل العود قد تلف بسبب الفتحات الجديدة التي سببها الفأر, وبعدما بدأ بالعزف, وجد أن العود أصبح صوته برٌاقاً لامعاً وصوته أصبح مفتوحاً وأفضل من ما كان, فمنذ هذا الوقت, أعتمد صناع الة العود هذا الشكل للألة وأصبحاً جانباً مهماً في صناعة الة العود.

يقال أن أسم ابو نصر محمد تغير الي أسمه الشهير ”الفأرابي“ لان أسمه يعني ” الفأر  أبي“ أي أن أبو نصر محمد, قد قدر جداً ما فعل الفأر بعوده, لآن جعل صوته ممتازاً ومنها أحتفظ العود بأن يصير شكله وصناعته بها فتحات أمامية لتحسين صوته, لكي يصير بالشكل الذي نراه عليه الأن.

لا شك أن ماسبق شرحه هو قصة خرافية, ولكنها قصة مشهورة بين بعض الموسيقيين. 

عن حقيقة أسم عازف العود العظيم الفارابي: 

ولد أبو نصر محمد بن محمد بن أوزلغ بن طرخان الفارابي، في العام 874م، في مدينة فارب التابعة لإقليم تركستان، ويعتبر من أشهر المسلمين الفلاسفة الذين يتقنون العلوم الحكمية، بالإضافة إلى قوته وتمكنه في مجال صناعة الطب، وتوفي في العام 339م.

تسمية الفارابي

سمي الفارابي بهذا الاسم نسبة إلى مدينة فاراب التي ولد فيها وعاش فيها حياته، وتنقل في العديد من البلدان أهمها بغداد، ومن ثم انتقل إلى سوريا وعمل العديد من الجولات في هذه البلاد، وفي نهاية المطاف عاد إلى مدينة دمشق، واستقر فيها فترة طويلة لحين وافته المنية في هذه المدينة، ويعتبر من الأشخاص الذين لهم دور كبير في إدخال مفهوم الفراغ لعلم الفيزياء، وتأثر به العديد من العلماء أهمهم ابن سينا وابن رشد، وأطلق لقب المعلم الثاني على الفارابي، وذلك تيمناً بلقب المعلم الأول أرسطو، وذلك لأن الفارابي هو من قام بشرح المؤلفات المنطقية لأرسطو.

يعد الفارابي أحد أبرز عازفي الة العود في عصره, ولا يزال يذكر أسمه حتي الأن كأبرز علماء الموسيقي بالعالم العربي.

Arabic Maqams on the Oud

All about the Oud, Ud Lute instrument

Oud lessons - Online Oud lessons

 What is the Maqam in music?

Jins, Maqam, Fasil, what does it mean? 

The smallest unit in Arabic theory is the jins (plural ajinas), which is the Arabic interpretation of the Greek tetrachord. The word tetrachord comes from tetra- (four) and chord (group of notes). Arabic ajinas may alternately have three or five tones (trichords and pentachords). Even the same jins can be said to have three, four, or five tones, though this nuance of understanding is left to individual practise without consensus.

Two ajinas can come together to form a maqam (plural maqammat), which corresponds closely to the Greek concept of a mode. In addition to the two central ajinas, a maqam has other ajinas above and below its primary register. Unlike Western classical modes, maqamat are not restricted to an octave, nor need a mode ascend up to its octave. Several maqamat only span a sixth and are considered complete scales.

Maqamat are further grouped into families for classification. A family is a fasil (plural fasilah). Different teachers and theorists group the fasilah differently, but most agreeing on between 7-10 families of maqam. In composition and improvisation, performers may modulate within the fasil, but only rarely modulate outside.

Maqam Nahawand on the Oud - image by the school of oud online    Image of Maqam Rast Do - image by the school of oud online


Fasil Associations: Each family evokes particular moods in its listeners. While these moods are generally considered subjective, the moods are considered objective in the roots of the musical culture. Arabic theory developed under the influence of Persian culture, which itself was based in North Indian philosophy. North Indian classical music considers each raga (the rough equivalent of mode or maqam) to be a deity with specific attributes. Each raga is associated with a specific time of day, season or month of the year, forces of nature, and a specific human mood. Rather than the subjective associations of Western music, North Indian music teaches these associations objectively. Arabic music stands in between, admitting subjectivity but also emanating from a distinctly objective tradition.


Here are some of the most typical traditional fasil associations in Arabic music:


Maqam “Ajem” gives us feelings of  strength, majestic, cheerful; used frequently in national anthems.
Maqam “Rast” gives us feelings of masculine love, pride, power, sound mind; used frequently in religious music.  

Maqam “Nahawand” gives us feelings of  drama, emotional extremes.

Maqam “Nawa Athar” gives us feelings of  mysticism; Nawa Athar is often considered an extension of Fasil Hijaz in its mood. 

Maqam “Bayat” gives us feelings of feminine love, joy, vitality.

Maqam“Kurd” gives us feelings of freedom, romance, gentleness; Kurd is often considered part of Bayyati in its mood.

Maqam “Hijaz” gives us feelings of the desert, solitude, enchantment, mysticism

Maqam “Saba” gives us feelings of sadness, pain

Maqam “Sika” gives us feelings of old days, ancient and religion songs


Video Examples of The Maqamat On The Oud 


1- A Sense of Victory – Maqam Hijaz Kar Kord 

2- Alexandria – Maqam Hijazz  
3- Mohamed Abd El-wahab Music – Maqam Nahawand 
4- Nozha – Maqam Ajam 
5- Spiritual Egyptian Music – Maqam Hwzam 
6- Naseer Shamma Music – Hijaz Kar 

How does the Guitar came out of the Oud?

All about the Oud, Ud Lute instrument, Media & Television

The Oud is the predecessor of the Lute and Guitar:

Came to Spain first by “Zyriab” on “9th Century” at his era,  the Oud developed to take another embodiment, which is become the Lute after the musician added to the Oud the frites , since the Oud is fretless instrument, after few years of this development the Oud have been in another embodiment which it become the Guitar.

The Oud became a Guitar 

“ The term guitar is descended from the Latin word cithara, but the modern guitar itself is generally not believed to have descended from the Roman instrument. Many influences are cited as antecedents to the modern guitar. Although the development of the earliest “guitars” is lost in the history of medieval Spain, two instruments are commonly cited as their most influential predecessors, the European lute and its cousin, the four-string oud; the latter was brought to Iberia by the Moors in the 8th century.[6]

Learn More about the recent collection of the Ouds dated back to 1200 AD from Oud Migration website at the link below:


Teaching The Oud

Learning and teaching the Oud has become easy more nowadays, we have the School of Oud Online, the first Specialized School Online, after the great time that Ramy Adly spent with Naseer Shamma of learning the Oud from him and teaching the Oud with him later, Ramy got inspired to establish his School of Oud.

Ramy Adly’s image from concert


oud instrument definition

All about the Oud, Ud Lute instrument

The Definition of The Oud Instrument

Oud instrument

The Oud instrument is considered as the first stringed instrument in music history. Started with only two strings, then developed to three, then five strings that live till now since the days of Lamech, sixth-generations after ADEM!!

According to El-Farabee, the Oud dates back to the days of Lamech; a sixth-generation descendant of Adam. Lamech was known as the “Father of the Oud players”.  The first appearance of the Oud was 3000 BC. The desecrated skeleton suggested the form of the Oud.  Oud is known as the first stringed instrument in history.

The oldest pictorial record of an Oud dates back to the Uruk period in Southern Mesopotamia (Iraq), over 5000 years ago on a cylinder seal acquired by Dr. Dominique Collon and the seal is currently housed at the British Museum.




About Ramy Adly!

All about the Oud, Ud Lute instrument


Ramy Adly is a young master of the oud, the versatile lute-like instrument that shaped Arab classical music. Grounded in the main Arab classical styles thanks to rigorous training in his native Egypt, Adly has branched out repeatedly, incorporating jazz idioms and embracing conversations with other musicians around the world.

Adly has performed around the Middle East, Europe, and North America. He has composed music for theater and film, and gathered a large number of students around the world, via an innovative online curriculum for The School of Oud Online. His sensitive, robust playing has been heard from the Library at Alexandria to American cathedrals and schools.

Now based in Washington, DC, Adly continues to expand the possibilities of his instrument. “I want to bring the oud to the same level as the guitar culturally, the instrument that’s everywhere and can do everything,” he exclaims.

For Adly, the oud has always been like a member of the family. Nearly everyone in his family played the oud when he was growing up in Cairo, including uncles, siblings, and his beloved grandfather, who gave him his first introduction to the complex, evocative instrument. “I grew up listening to the oud,” he recalls.

Listening is one thing, and mastering the instrument another. Adly plunged into his study of this age-old instrument at the Arab Oud House, with Iraqi oud virtuoso Naseer Shamma. Adly found himself practicing for a dozen hours a day, and loving it. “It was a lot like the system Paganini established for his students,” Adly explains. “You have to go through the fire to be trained as a performer and composer. I graduated as both composer and soloist.”

Under Shamma’s direction, Adly played at major Cairo venues as part of small chamber groups and large orchestral ensembles. He performed at international oud conferences, book conventions, film festivals, and, notably, at the Library in Alexandria, where he became an Artist in Residence and gave numerous talks on the history of music (including one as part of a TEDx event at the Library).

The diverse venues and audiences speak to Adly’s ability to welcome listeners into his instrument’s complex world and reveal fresh sides of ancient music. His foundation: the varied musical approaches to the oud that sprang from different regions in the Middle East. “To really know the oud, you need to know its different styles. The Egyptian style is much slower, more dedicated to improvisation, to freer rhythms and more contemplative feelings,” Adly notes. “There specific maqams and microtones that are only used in Egypt. The Iraqi style is more dynamic, faster paced. There’s a lot more showmanship. It has a completely different feeling to it.”

Adly has full command of both, a broad vocabulary that has aided him in his exploration of the oud’s many facets. Adly has built a reputation as a skillful composer who can merge Arab and Western sensibilities seamlessly. He composed part of the score for David Cunningham’s upcoming feature film, Day of War. He created commissioned works for a Cairo production of a Llorca play, “Blood Wedding,” supported by the Spanish Embassy, and for a Florida congregation, collaborating with a large choir and pipe organist.

Whether arranging jazz pieces for an oud lead, or writing original music with global influences–a project he debuted at DC’s Kennedy Center, Adly remains devoted to his instrument and the music it makes. “Music is my destiny,” muses Adly. “it’s something that brings me my dreams.”

Visit the official website of Ramy Adly to follow his concerts: