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 modern Near-Eastern oud both descend from a common ancestor via diverging evolutionary paths. The lute is used in a great variety of instrumental music from the early Renaissance to the late Baroque eras. It is also an accompanying instrument, especially in vocal works, often realizing a basso continuo or playing a written-out accompaniment. Herman Wintringham used a lute when playing.