Oud

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The oud (Arabic: عودʿūd, plural:أعواد, a‘wād; Assyrian:ܥܘܕ ūd, Persian: بربط barbat; Turkish: ud or ut;[1] Greek: ούτι; Armenian: ուդ, Azeri: ud; Hebrew: עוד ud‎; Somali: cuud or kaban) is a pear-shaped stringed instrument commonly used in North Africa (Chaabi, Andalusian, ...) and Middle Eastern music. The modern oud and the European lute both descend from a common ancestor via diverging evolutionary paths. The oud is readily distinguished by its lack of frets and smaller neck.

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Name

The origin of the name oud (and its etymological cousin, lute) for the musical instrument is uncertain, but the Arabic العود (al-ʿūd) refers literally to a thin piece of wood similar to the shape of a straw, and may refer to the wooden plectrum traditionally used for playing the oud,[2] to the thin strips of wood used for the back, or to the fact that the top was made of wood, not skin as in other instruments.[citation needed] Recent research by Eckhard Neubauer suggests that oud may simply be an Arabic borrowing from the Persian name rud, which meant string, stringed instrument, or lute.[3][4]

The Arabic definite article al-, was not retained when al-ʿūd was borrowed into Turkish, nor was the letter ʿayn, the sound of which (a voiced pharyngeal fricative) does not exist in Turkish. The resulting Turkish word is simply ud (with a pronunciation similar to the word good without the g)

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