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|An Oud doesn't make use of frets.|
According to Wikipedia the modern oud and the European lute both descend from a common ancestor.
“The oud was most likely introduced to Western Europe by the Arabs who established the Umayyad Caliphate of Al-Andalus on the Iberian Peninsula in 711.… [The] royal houses of Al-Andalus … cultivated an environment that raised the level of oud playing to greater heights and boosted the popularity of the instrument. The most famous oud player of Al-Andalus was Ziryab. He established a music school in Córdoba, enhanced playing technique and added a fifth course to the instrument. The European version of this instrument came to be known as the lute – luth in French, Laute in German, liuto in Italian, luit in Dutch, laúd in Spanish, and alaúde in Portuguese. The word "luthier", meaning stringed instrument maker, is in turn derived from the French luth. Unlike the oud, the European lute utilizes frets (usually tied gut).”
Wikipedia continues in relation to the the later evolution of the European lute:
“[An] important point of transfer of the lute from Arabian to European culture might have been in Sicily, where it was brought either by Byzantine or later by Saracen musicians. There were singer-lutenists at the court in Palermo following the Norman conquest of the island, and the lute is depicted extensively in the ceiling paintings in the Palermo’s royal Cappella Palatina, dedicated by the Norman King Roger II in 1140.”
My first introduction to the oud came from the Egyptian-born Australian Joseph Tawadros, whose love of the oud has popularised the instrument amongst many an Australian who previously might never have heard of the instrument. Joseph Tawadros is a player and composer of the oud who plays with passion and whose music can jump from at once deliriously frenetic thrumming to the sudden sublime contemplative melodies one usually only associates with the violin.
Joseph Tawadros’ has recently collaborated with Jazz musicians Jack DeJohnette, John Abercrombie and John Patitucci as well as his younger brother James Tawadros for his latest album “The Hour of Seperation”. The title comes from a line in a poem from Kahlil Gibran that says “Love knows not it's depth until the hour of separation”.
The Hour of Seperation can be found at Amazon.com and on iTunes.