The duduk accompanies popular Armenian traditional
songs and dances of the various regions and is played at social events, such as
weddings, festivities and funerals. It is impossible to imagine the past, the
present as well as the future of the musical culture of Armenia without the
admirable sonority of duduk and without its magic musical modulation. It has
accompanied Armenians on the roads of relocation, in Siberian deportation
camps, in cathedrals and modern concert halls.
The prototypes of the duduk are met in the national
cultures of Transcaucasia, North Caucasus, Middle Asia and Iran. However, they
greatly differ from the structure of the Armenian duduk which brings to the
differences also in sound and technical possibilities. Armenian duduk which is
also called tsiranapokh (apricot tree pipe), has a warm, soft, slightly nasal
timbre. The sound peculiarities of the Armenian slang are noticeable in the
sonority of the duduk.
In a course of centuries and with the development of
technical means, the instrument has got better and now it has ten holes, eight
of which are on the front face and two are on the opposite side.
The duduk is mainly played by two musicians. One
player creates the musical environment for the lead melody by playing a
continual drone that is held by circular breathing, while the other player
develops complex melodies and improvisations.
In 1920-30s a new performing school founded by Margar
Margaryan, Levon Madoyan, Khachik Khachatryan and Vache Hovsepyan was
established in Armenia. The latter and Jivan Gasparyan, continuer of
Hovsepyan's traditions, created a new repertoire based on Armenian folklore and
dance melodies which is performed mainly during festive occasions.
The best duduk players of today are Jivan Gasparyan,
Gevorg Dabaghyan (Yerevan), Mkrtich Malkhasyan (Gyumri), Vladimir Kroyan
(Vanadzor), Georgi Minasov (Artsakh) and others.
Inscribed in 2008 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (originally proclaimed in 2005).