Short-necked plucked lute of the Arab world, whose name derives from al-'ud ('the lute'). Known both from documentation and through oral tradition, it is considered the king, sultan, or emir of musical instruments, 'the most perfect of those invented by the philosophers' (Ikhwan al-Safa'; Rasa'il [Letters](1957), i, 202). It is the principal instrument of the Arab world, Somalia and Djibouti, and is of secondary importance in Turkey, Iran, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. It plays a lesser role in Greece, where it has given rise to a long-necked model; the latter is used in rustic and folk contexts, while the 'ud retains pre-eminently educated and urban associates. In eastern Africa it is known as udi. Courtesy of New Grove DMI © 1995.