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A guitarlike instrument, important in the 16th century.
Lute can refer generally to any plucked string instrument with a neck (either fretted or unfretted) and a deep round back, or more specifically to an instrument from the family of European lutes.
The European lute and the Near-Eastern oud both descend from a common ancestor, with diverging evolutionary paths. The lute is used in a great variety of instrumental music from the early Renaissance to the late Baroque eras.