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The Oud: An Illustrated History

Original price $75.00 - Original price $75.00
Original price
$75.00 - $75.00
Current price $75.00

Rachel Beckles Willson
Hardback, 256 pages


An Illustrated History of one of the most important instruments of the Middle East and North Africa


According to a literary tradition of Iraq, the origin of the oud lies in the grief of Lamak, a descendent of Cain, son of Adam. When his 5-year-old son died, Lamak hung the boy's limp body on a tree, and as time passed, he resolved to build a musical instrument from the remaining bones. He then played it, wept, and sang the first lament; his daughter Sila became an instrument maker. So the oud is a beautiful pear-shaped box, with neck and strings, that makes music, but it can also be a link to the world of storytelling that brings new voices to life.


Today the oud is one of the most important instruments in music cultures of the Middle East and North Africa, and while associated mainly with the Arab world, it is also played in Iran, Turkey, and Greece. More recently it has spread into East Africa, numerous countries of Europe, Australia, the Americas, China, and Japan.


This book explores the oud's history and increasingly global lives today. It examines its varied construction over time and place, delves into its place in literature, and reveals its widespread repertoire and immensely diverse players.

With plentiful illustrations drawn from private collections and museums all over the world, this first and definitive book on the oud is written for the general reader, student, or specialist looking for broader cultural understanding.