The Ud

The single most important instrument of the middle eastern people is ,of course,the ud
,or lute.At the height of the brilliant  civilization ,the lute was to middle east what the
piano has been to Europeans since the nineteenthcentury-the chief unstrument not only
for musical practic ,but for theory as well . The works of al-farabi,ibn sina,and safi
al-din discuss in great detail the different systems of fretting the lute and intervals that
could be obtained on the instrument. Although the lute retains its importance in the arb
countries today and is still the most popular non-western instrument, it has virually
disappeared from iran.
Its prsent existence in persia is due almost entirely to the efforts of the ministry of
culture,which is trying to revive this instrument. To this end the ud is used in the
orchestras of native instruments sponsored by the ministry,  conservatory of national
music.  The ud played is like the instrument used in the arab countries except that  iran
with their usual flair for elegance,use an eagle's feather as a plectrum instead of the
bone or plastic used by the arab.As early as the sassanain period,iran had an ud called
the barbat. This was the instrument played by the famous musician barbat and that
represented in sassanian art. The construction was different from that of the arab
lute,since in the barbat,the body and neck were constructed of one graduated piece of
wood, in contrast to the arab ud where the two were separate.
The lute was the chief instrument for art music until the safavid period. Frequently
represnted in miniatures,it is also found among the wall paintings at chehel sotun. The
long-necked tambur,second to the ud in popularity during this period,seems to have
gradually gained in importance until during the eighteenth century, it superseded the
Theory of music
Tel: 425-761-8015   USA
Tel: 425-761-8015   USA