Which Is Better: Arabic Oud vs Turkish Oud

 Which Is Better: Arabic Oud vs Turkish Oud

Stringed instruments began to take place in people's life immediately after percussion instruments. Oud is one of the oldest stringed instruments. Developed and still used in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and many Arab countries.


It is estimated that it was first built in ancient Egypt in 1300 BC. As a word, it was also observed in the Arabic and Iranian texts in the 12th century. It is possible to see these terms as Barbat, Oud and Tunbur / Tambur. Farabi, on the other hand, is the person who is known to have made changes on the first oud line.


Structurally composed of boat, chest, handle, twist and strings, oud is a musical instrument that is important to make. The construction of the boat is done meticulously. It is made by joining pieces of 4-5 cm just like a hull. These parts are called leaves or circles. One or two types of trees can be used in boat construction in a balanced way. Mulberry, Butterfly tree, Mahogany, Aframoz, Ebony, Chestnut and Paduk are the most frequently used tree types.

You can also like: How To Change Oud Strings | Oud Instrument | Oud Musical Instrument


It is possible to see different types of ouds according to the production and sound shapes. According to a number of sources, Drum and Kopuz instruments were developed and Oud was created. These are distinguished by sound, body and some technical features.

 You can also like: Tips For Purchasing A Good Oud

What are the Types of Oud?

The body structures are called the drum with a small body and a long handle, and the one with a large body and a short handle is called the Oud. Although it seems to be of Arab origin, it is a fact that Turks developed the oud instrument and that the best masters are Turkish now.


Arab oud differs with the number of strings. It has similar features with Turkish oud in all other respects. In these ouds, which differ in curved or immersed construction, the sound can go up to the finest points. However, as with many musical instruments, handwork is very important in these products.

 types of arabic oud


In Turkey, there are a few special craftsmen who can make ouds with hand work. Apart from these, Ud production with machines continues. these special products are included in the Arab Udu as oud varieties and are exported to different countries from Turkey. They are perfect and expensive products due to their manual labor.


Although there are no structural differences, we can easily see these two different types of tuning and playing techniques. Thanks to these differences in their tones, they have a special timbre.

 types of turkish oud


The body, the number of strings and the thresholds are the differences in shape of the ouds. As it is effective in terms of features and can produce sounds in different octaves, it is also a preferred stringed instrument today.


What are the differences between Arabic Oud and Turkish Oud?

Although Farabi which is located in the history of the ud, seems to be its owner, there are many historical records that it was the Oud's far before it. Turkish rudder was created with inspiration from Tambur and Kimiz, which came from this ancient times. Since it is suitable for the timbres in Arabic music culture, it spread to that region and started to use it by adapting it.

 arabic oud

Farabi added another string to 4 strings. Today, however, Arabic oud consists of 7 strings. The keyboard of the Arabic oud can be 20-21 or 22 cm. The measure between the two thresholds is 60 or 61 cm. In its construction, paduk - zebrana or paduk - verge trees sound more efficiently. The Arabic oud, whose chest is 50-51 cm, is tuned differently due to its different sound features.


Turkish oud differs with its 11 or 12 string structure. The boat is in the same dimensions. It has a unique lane among the lute varieties. Wide sound characteristics arise from these strings. It is played in a way that allows more special timbre to be heard. Many trees can be used in binary or single forms. These strings, which can make 3 octave sounds, bring Turkish flour to richer points. Thanks to its unique structure, it easily takes its place in Turkish music.

 turkish oud

Today there is a special interest in both oud types worldwide. It may be necessary to look at, examine and discuss its properties with a specialist before buying a oud that can meet expectations. For a good sound, it is important that the oud workmanship is of high quality.

You can also like: https://salamuzik.com/blogs/news/differences-similarities-between-turkish-arabic-persian-music


  • Veysel Sala

    Hi Adrian,
    Yes, you can certainly learn to play Arabic music on a Turkish Oud. While there are differences between Turkish and Arabic Ouds, they are both members of the same family of instruments and share many similarities. Here are a few points to consider:

    1. Tuning: Turkish Ouds are typically tuned to a higher pitch than Arabic Ouds. However, you can adjust the tuning of your Turkish Oud to match the typical tuning used in Arabic music if you prefer.
    2. Scale Length: Turkish Ouds generally have a slightly shorter scale length compared to Arabic Ouds. This can result in a brighter tone, but it won’t prevent you from playing Arabic music.
    3. Repertoire: The techniques and fingerings used in both styles are quite similar. You can find plenty of resources and tutorials online for learning Arabic music on the Oud.
    4. Flexibility: Many musicians play both Turkish and Arabic styles on the same Oud. With practice, you’ll be able to adapt your playing style to suit the music you want to play.

  • Adrian Hall

    Can I learn to play Arabic music on a Turkish Oud?

  • Esmail

    I love you Turkiye. May Allah bless you and reward you! I love your Oud music, I love your history, I wish I could study music and history in your country and then return to be ambassador in my country. That is my desire even if it is not well-planned. My Turkish is horrible and I don’t have the right keyboard but:
    Turkiye de seviyorum. May Allah grant me Turkish children.

  • Gizem

    Very beneficial post. Thank you :)

  • Deniz

    Thank you for your content about oud.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.