In Persian mythology, the invention of the "OUD" is traced to Lamak, a decendant of Biblical Cain. As the story goes, on the death of his son, Lamak hung the young man’s remains on a tree and the desiccated skeleton suggested the form of an oud. Throughout history, versions of the instrument have made their mark in various civilizations from Spain to China. The Oud first appears in Mesopotamia (1600- 1150BC) with a small oval body. A larger variety, similar to the instruments present day dimensions, appears at in Anatolia (1460-1190BC).

Today, the Oud is known as ut or ud in Turkey, udi in Africa and barbat in Iran. In Arabic, the word means "wood", "twig", "flexible rod", and also "aromatic stick". The oud is considered the most important Arab instrument and is called the prince of the instruments.


The hammered dulcimer (santur) is believed to be originated from Asia possibly as early as 800 B.C. It is believed to have traveled into Europe with the Crusaders. The name means “one hundred strings” in Persian. It is known around the world with various names:

  • Austria - Hackbrett
  • Brazil - saltério
  • Cambodia - khim
  • China - yangqin
  • Germany - Hackbrett
  • Greece - santouri
  • Hungary - cimbalom
  • India - santoor
  • Iran - santur
  • Italy - salterio
  • Korea - yanggum
  • Laos - khim
  • Mexico - salterio
  • Netherlands - hakkebord
  • Romania - ţambal
  • Spain - salterio
  • Sweden - hackbräda, hammarharpa
  • Switzerland - Hackbrett, Hachbrattli
  • Thailand - khim
  • United States - hammered dulcimer

The name 'dulcimer' is derived from Latin, meaning “sweet sound” and it is also a direct ancestor of the piano. It is a trapezoid-shaped box often made of walnut, with 72 strings. The special-shaped mallets are lightweight and are held between the index and middle fingers. A typical santur has two sets of bridges, providing a range of three octaves. The right-hand strings are made of brass, while the left-hand strings are made of steel.