The story of the Oud goes back to the Akkadian Empire in 2350 BC. In the Arab world people describe the Oud as being the closest instrument to the human being’s soul which has a great effect on their conscience by taking them back to the golden era of music by its rare musical notes.
Oud’s root is in Iraq although it traveled in many different countries as Arabs took it with them to the Andalusia as it became a fixed part of the Andalusian Muwashahat. And from Al Andalus, it went to Europe and was known under the name Lute before being substituted by the Piano in the 19th century.
The word” Oud” means wood in Arabic, and it has been given this name to ensure the magic of nature and what we can make out of it. The Umayyad and the Abbasid Era were the glory time of the Oud as the Oud makers worked on developing the material from which they make it such as the strings they start making from the intestines of a lion cub or from silk.
Also, it was a classy and expensive instrument due to the expensive material used as walnut wood, rosewood, and Ebony, and decorating it with the magnificent drawing added to it the magic of ivory and shells. Many Arab philosophers established their music theories on Oud such as Al Farabi, Ibn Kindy, Ibn Sina, and many more. Also, Arab history has many prominent Arab musicians and their experiments which were the seed of many current music schools among them; Ibn Sirij, Zaryab, and many others.
Asking about the shape of the Oud it looks like the Lute as at some point it carried the name because of this similarity, although, Oud has a shorter neck and doesn’t include frets. Oud has from 11 to 13 strings which gives it the wide ability to produce different and difficult musical notes.
Currently, we have the Electric Oud which is a new revolution in Oud’s world but it won’t replace the classical Oud’s place in the musical world.