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Duduk – Traditional Armenian Musical Instrument

Listening to the duduk is an enchanting journey into the heart of Armenia, traversing from the snow-capped peaks of Mount Ararat to the echoing chambers of ancient ruins. This brief article sheds light on the history and technical characteristics of the duduk, a unique and ancient instrument that resonates with rich cultural significance.

The Armenian duduk also known as tsiranapogh, meaning " apricot-made wind instrument" in Armenian, is a double-reed woodwind instrument renowned for producing a haunting and expressive sound. Crafted from apricot wood, it possesses a distinctive color and tone. It should not be confused with the northwestern Bulgarian folk instrument of the same name.


Traditionally played in pairs, the first player handles the melody while the second plays a steady drone called dum. The harmonious fusion of these two instruments creates a richer, more haunting sound. Armenian musicologists trace the duduk's use back to 1200 BC, though some Western scholars suggest it may be around 1,500 years old. Duduk variants can be found in Armenia and the Caucasus, with its historical roots extending to the reign of Armenian king Tigran the Great (95 to 55 B.C.). Duduk is depicted in numerous Armenian manuscripts from the Middle Ages and stands as the only truly Armenian musical instrument that has survived through history, symbolizing Armenian national identity.

Duduks for sale in Yerevan Vernissage Market

Recognizing its cultural significance, UNESCO declared the Armenian duduk and its music as a Masterpiece of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2005 and officially inscribed it in 2008. Duduk music has left a lasting impact on various films, often used to evoke otherworldliness, loneliness, or to provide a Middle Eastern/Central Asian atmosphere. Notable film soundtracks featuring the duduk include "Avatar" (2009), "Brotherhood of the Wolf" (2001), "The Crow" (1994), "Gladiator" (2000), "Hotel Rwanda" (2004), "Hulk" (2003), "The Island" (2005), "The Last Temptation of Christ" (1988), "The Passion of The Christ" (2004), and "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" (2007).


The duduk's particular tuning depends on the region, with an eight-hole duduk capable of playing ten successive notes of a diatonic scale or sixteen consecutive notes of a chromatic scale with simple fingering, including a thumb hole on the lower side.


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