Oud is an short-necked, half pear-shaped, plucked lute of the Arab world, the direct ancestor of the European lute. Oud's name derives from al-oud (branch of wood). There are five pairs of strings on an oud, each pair tuned to the same pitch, and a single string which is also the thickest and known as the bamteli in Turkish. The most common way to tune the oud is to tune each string a fourth apart. The most common Turkish tuning with D being the highest open string is DAEBF#C#. There is also an Arabic variant of this tuning where the intervals stay the same but the pitch of each string is dropped down by a full step; CGDAEB. Some other tunings are CGDAGD, GDAEDA, DAEBAE, GDAEDA. "Known both from documentation and through oral tradition, it is considered the king, sultan or emir of musical instruments, 'the most perfect of those invented by the philosophers' (Ikhwan al-Safa: Rasa'il [Letters] (1957), i. 202). It is the principal instrument of the Arab world, and is of secondary importance in Turkey (ud), Iran, Armenia and Azerbaijan. It plays a lesser role in Greece (outi)." (Stanley Sadie: The New Grove Dictionary of Musical instruments, vol. 3, p. 687-688). It also plays an important role in north African countries, such as Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, and Sudan.


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