late 1800s–early 1900s
Location: not on view
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Did You Know?

The oud has influenced music traditions throughout the world by becoming the European lute, the Chinese pipa, and the Indonesian qanbūs.


A member of the lute family, there is perhaps no more emblematic instrument of the Islamic world than the oud. It provided music for banquets and gatherings, accompanied poets, punctuated celebrations and festivals, and is still prominent today. The oud is included in the medieval philosopher al-Farabi’s (872–950/951) Great Book of Music (Kitab al-Musiqa al-Kabir) in which he discusses the modal system of Arabic music. The defining characteristics of an oud are evident here: a pear-shaped body with a fretless fingerboard and a peg box set at a 45-to-90-degree angle to the neck.


late 1800s–early 1900s

West Asia

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