The Muscat Oud Festival, held from November 29 to December 1, 2005 in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman, was the first of its kind worldwide. It was organised as part of the cultural renaissance in the Sultanate of Oman that started around 1970. For the first time in history, this festival has featured on one stage the whole Arabic world’s today’s most admired players of the oud, the Arab lute, which has been the symbol of Arabic music since ancient times. Even today the oud plays an outstanding role in the traditional education of young Arabic musicians: Playing and singing, rhythms, music theory and melodic modes are taught on this instrument. At the festival, the oud was presented both as a virtuosic solo instrument and as a singer’s instrument for self-accompaniment. Last but not least it was also presented as a concerto instrument with symphony orchestra — a very recent development, now forced by the Sultanate’s belief in cultural modernization. Beside Atiyya Sharara’s oud concerto of 1983, two more orchestral works with the oud were brought to stage, composed especially for the festival by Egyptian Ammar El-Sherei who also played the oud part along with the Royal Oman Symphony. However, the first Muscat Oud Festival not only proves the rich possibilities of the oud but the wealth of Arabic music as a whole that has many musical genres and more than 150 melodic modes. Above all, the festival’s overwhelming performances show the irresistible power of “al tarab”, the Arabic concept of “enchantment” which means communicating joy and sadness to the audience in a deep, spontaneous, heart-gripping manner. Arabic musicians are noted for their ability to improvise in singing, playing or poetry and to move the listener by the sheer expression of the moment’s feelings. Al Tarab reveals the blues and soul of the oriental world.