Louta (Lavta in Turkish) is actually the oud particular to Istanbul, in Greek it means “lute of the city”. It was intended to accompany kemençe in making drone sounds and play rhythmic dyads in public entertainments to make people dance. It looks like an oud; it is pear-shaped, although its body is slightly smaller and its timbre is a little bit rougher. It has seven strings, they are played with a long, thin plectrum. The louta’s neck is fretted as per Turkish makam music, even though it is also played in Greece; it has 26 movable frets per octave.


    The primitive form of this instrument was found among the ancient Sumerians, Egyptians, Babylonians, Romans, and Greeks. It was later developed by the Arabs and settled by the Spaniards, and from there it spread to the west during the Andalusian Umayyad Period. Besides the introduction of the Louta to Spain (Andalusia) by the Moors, another important point in the transfer of the lute from Arab culture to European culture was Sicily, where it was brought by Byzantine or later Muslim musicians. It entered Turkish music in the 18th century. Today, it is not as popular a musical instrument as it used to be.

    The Mediterranean Louta is played with a tortoiseshell or plastic plectrum. Since the baga is played with a plectrum, which has a sound very similar to the tambour, it has negatively affected the development of Turkish music. In the Baroque music period, the lute and basso were used as two of the instruments that played the accompaniment parts.The baroque lute and the renaissance lute are played by pulling the strings with the thumb and index fingers of the right hand. In addition, the person who plays the Louta is called a lavtavi, or lute player. 


    The loutas in our catalogue have bowls made of Walnut or Mahogany,  faces of spruce and pegs of rose. The loutas in our store are all hand-made, well designed and constructed by makers who have mastered their craft. Do not hesitate to visit our store in Istanbul or our website to check the variety of loutas in our catalogue. We believe you will find here the right louta for you at the best value.