Used in Armenian folk music, Classical Turkish, and Arabaic music. Also called Telli Davul (String Drum) in Turkish folk music where it functions as a rhythm instrument.
The Oud has a hollow body and from four to five double strings and sometimes an added single bass string. The tuning of the five strings beginning with the lowest is usually: G, A, D, g, c with an octave range for each string being common. The strings were traditionally plucked with the quill of an eagle feather, but in modern times a plastic version is more readily avaiable.
The music generally played on the Oud is based on a scale called a maqam. These maqamat (plural of maqam) have many interesting features not present in Western music. The use of less than _ tones is common and the maqam pattern is spread to two octaves where different notes occur in the octaves. Each maqam has a tonal center and secondary tonal centers around which the performer improvises. There are perhaps more than a hundred maqamat but about twenty in popular use today.
Hear the Oud on 'Nile Eyes' and 'Dharana' from 'Svadharma'