Born in the early days of Armenian history, the duduk is known as the most “Armenian” of all folk instruments, because of its roots and its ability to represent the spirit of the Armenian people.

The Armenian duduk is a double-reed woodwind musical instrument made of wild apricot wood, and it is indigenous to Armenia. The history of the Armenian duduk music is dated to the authority of the Armenian King Tigran the Great (95-55 BC.)

Duduk is typically played in pairs: The first player plays the melody, the second plays a drone called ‘dam’, and the music of the two instruments together produces a more prosperous and more haunting sound.

Who is the best duduk player in the world?

The music of the Armenian duduk has become known to broader audiences via its use in popular film soundtracks, such as the Peter Gabriel’s score for Martin Scorsese’s “The Last Temptation of Christ”.

Djivan Gasparyan is unquestionably one of Armenia’s greatest musicians, a living legend. He is the foremost virtuoso of the duduk, an ancient oboe-like instrument that is made of apricot wood and capable of sustaining drone notes for long periods of time.

Djivan Gasparyan
Djivan Gasparyan

The well-known duduk player Djivan Gasparyan from Armenia played the duduk in “Gladiator”, “Syriana”, and “Blood Diamond”, among others. It was also used extensively in “Battlestar Galactica”, in the TV series “Avatar: The Last Airbender”, “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe for a Lullaby”, “The Russia House”, and many other film and video production.

Where to listen to Armenian duduk?

Armenian national restaurants are one of the most popular places where live music is played in the evenings and you can listen to the duduk there. You can also listen to duduk at the Geghard Monastery’s entrance, where the local villagers are playing to earn something. Sometimes it is played inside the Garni Temple.

UNESCO announced the Armenian duduk and its music as a Masterpiece of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2005 and inscribed it in 2008.

Learning to play duduk well can take years, and mastering it to find your timbre can be a lifelong journey. Here we will try to gather together all knowledge our community have to help beginners to get the most of Armenian duduk.

Fingering chart for A duduk

How many octaves does a duduk have?

Duduk’s vocal range is approximately 1.5 octaves. The person who will play the duduk should choose the body that is suitable for the sound he will play and the reed that is compatible with this body.

What is the most common key for duduk?

The most common key that you hear, which produced the famous Armenian timbre is the key of A (La) or Bb (Si Bemol). If you’re a beginner just getting into duduks, a good place to start is in the key of A. As the most widespread key, if you get a teacher, they will also have a duduk in A as well, so they can tune it when you play.

Learning duduk

So now you’ve got your first instrument and you want to learn to play. The only question left is where to start? A lot of beginner students turn to online video classes and instructions, such as those on YouTube. It can be a great way to get familiar with your duduk and learn some basics, but ultimately it can end up hindering your overall progress.

The best way to learn duduk is with a professional teacher. A qualified teacher will help significantly in setting up proper foundations that you can build upon to reach your goals efficiently. Duduk used to be taught by ear, but a professional teacher will also use music notation.

If you find it difficult to locate a professional and qualified teacher, please reach out to us and we will help to connect you with a teacher near you. You may also find it useful to have a teacher that offers online classes, so regardless of where you live, you’re able to find professional instruction from Armenia or elsewhere.

How long does it take to learn the duduk?

Duduk is not a beginner instrument, and won’t be a casual instrument like a guitar or piano. Learning to play duduk well can take years, and mastering it to find your timbre can be a lifelong journey.

What is the difference between Mey and duduk?

Mey and Duduk are slightly differs from each other. There are differences in sound and intonation. Duduk tones are softer, smoky and velvety. In contrast, Mey; it has a so-called whispering or booming voice.

How do I open duduk reed?

Ghamish for Duduk

The trick here is to lightly coat the inside with moisture so that the reed can just be coaxed to open.

If the reed is too wet, it will open too much and the pitch will move around a lot when you play. Playing the duduk is already hard enough, do not do something that will make it even harder!

How do you hold a duduk?

The instrument should be held at 40-50 degrees to the body. The elbows should be raised a little for the breathing to be free. The head must be kept straight; the back should not bend forward while playing.

Caring For The Duduk

As with any wooden wind instrument like clarinet, oboe, or piccolo, the wood should be cared for by swabbing and an occasional light oil to keep the instrument from cracking. The oil preserves the wood from warping and cracking, and also gives the instrument a nice and professional look.
The cap that is tied to the bridle should be placed on the reed whenever the instrument is not being played. The cap serves a few purposes – to protect the reed and to keep the reed from staying wide open. Be careful with the bottom portion of the reed that is tightly wrapped with string.
The string is glued on and should not unravel. If the string does unravel, simply put a little amount of glue and wipe it on the end that is loose. This portion of the reed fits in the duduk (the wide end of the instrument) and the wrapped-string act as a grip to keep the reed snug in the instrument.
Please keep in mind that this is an entirely handmade instrument which takes several years for makers to produce a fine product. Care for it as you would any delicate product.

Where to buy duduk

If you are looking for buy duduk, we offer you to order one from our online store here:

At you can buy duduk by an affordable price. We offer duduks made by the best masters and our team members are responsible for the final quality of tuning, reeds and finish of the musical instrument.

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How To Play Duduk

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