History of the Oud


History of the Oud

1. The Term ‘ud

Detail from Maghrebi miniature, 13th cent. Literally, ‘ud means ‘twig’, ‘flexible rod’ or ‘aromatic stick’, and by inference ‘piece of wood’. In Ibn Khaldun (14th century), ‘ud denoted the plectrum of the lute called barbat. The etymology of the word has occasioned numerous commentaries, among them Farmer’s alluring thesis that the Arabs adopted the term to differentiate the instrument, with its wooden sound-table, from the similar Persian barbat, whose belly is covered with skin. Continue reading