Lutes are classified as a fairly wide subcategory of the chordophone or “stringed musical instrument” family. Lutes are any plucked stringed instrument; having the following components 1.) body and & neck with frets or fretless (no frets) and a round back enclosing a hollow cavity, usually with a sound hole or opening in the body.
More specifically, the term “lute” can refer to an instrument from the family of European lutes. The term also refers generally to any string instrument having the strings running in a plane parallel to the sound table (in the Hornbostel–Sachs system). The strings are attached to pegs or posts at the end of the neck, which have some type of turning mechanism to enable the player to tighten the tension on the string or loosen the tension before playing (which respectively raise or lower the pitch of a string), so that each string is tuned to a specific pitch (or note). The lute is plucked or strummed with one hand while the other hand “frets” (presses down) the strings on the neck’s fingerboard.