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Armenian musical instruments part 1

Armenian music instruments are important part of Armenian culture today and during centuries. Armenians have impressive, unique folklore, music and traditions.

In this article, I will try to introduce the most important music instruments which performed Armenian people during ages.

Armenians have their very old traditions of folk music and traditions . Armenian say, their musical culture origins come from the ancient times, from Highlands, where people traditionally sing popular folk songs.

The information on historical background of Armenian music instruments comes from such ancient Armenian historians’ works as Movses Khorenatsi and Faustus of Byzantium. According to their history, Armenian musical art has originated in the II millennium BC.

In the eighth century, one of the most important achievements in the development of the Armenian music instruments and musical art itself was the creation of the Armenian musical writing, called “khaz”, a form of indigenous musical notation. Today, there are more than 2000 manuscripts about khazes preserved in local Museums.

During the time, the Armenian antique music was changed a lot but in the 19th and the 20th century Komitas, collected and passed down true and pure Armenian music to the new generations.

Wind instruments of Armenia:

Duduk (tsiranapogh), Shvi, Pku, Zurna, Bagpipe (Parkapzouk), Blul, Hovhakan Shvi, Sring, Galapogh

Stringed instruments: Canon, Lutna, Tavigh, Kamancheh (camancha), Kemani, Oud, Saz, Tar, Santour.

Percussion instruments: Naghara, Tmbouk, Payterov dhol, Dsndsgha, Dap chkhchkan.

Lets talk about Armenian duduk, which is one of the oldest instruments made ever by human. The duduk is often associated with a haunting and mournful sound.

Duduk is considered to be the most Armenian of all folk instruments for its Armenian origin and honest expression. It has a 1500 – year history and is native to Armenia although there are its variants played in Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan.

Duduk or tsiranapogh, as Armenian title this wind instrument at the beginning was made of bone. Not sure which animal, but it is the fact. Yes, the tube (barrel) was made of bone. The reed was made of bamboo. Do not think that is was tuned instrument, but it was ok, for them who was playing it more than 1500 years ago. The duduk player is called dudukahar.

Traditional duduk made of apricot wood, the best, when it made of aged wood in order to produce resonating inside tube. The reed made of bamboo. The reed is most important part of duduk, as it produce the sound and it is responsible for tuning also.

Duduk, like other wind instruments, have full range of scales, beginning from soprano and piccolo duduks up to Baritone and Bass. The most popular duduk, which used most in Armenian scores is A Tenor duduk.

Duduk music has been used in a number of movies, most notably in “The Gladiator”. Today, there are such famous duduk soloists performing, as Jivan Gasparyan, Gevorg Dabaghyan and Vache Sharafyan.

The duduk is mentioned in numerous Armenian articles of the Middle Ages. The duduk used in popular Armenian traditional songs and dances of the various regions and is played at social events, such as weddings and funerals.

The duduk is usually played by two musicians: one of them creates the musical drone, (dam), while the other player develops complex melodies and improvisations.

In our discuss open forum about world music instruments you can find a lot of questions and answers about reed and duduk.

Armenian musical instruments

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