Duduk -That haunting, soulful Armenian oboe

The Duduk (doo-DOOK) is an Armenian instrument related to the zurna and oboe,  in that all three use double reeds.  However the duduk’s reed is huge by comparison, meaning to play it requires LOTS of breath.  It’s soulful sound has made it very popular outside of Armenia – used in many film soundtracks. Here’s a couple of YouTubes of the guy whose recordings captured the West. Duduk solos are invariably accompanied by a second duduk acting as a drone. For this recording, a drum has been added as well.

Quoting Wikipedia – “Armenian musicologists cite evidence of the duduk’s use as early as 1200 BC, though Western scholars suggest it is 1,500 years old.[12] Variants of the duduk can be found in Armenia and the Caucasus. The history of the Armenian duduk music is dated to the reign of the Armenian king Tigran the Great,[13] who reigned from 95–55 B.C.[14] According to ethnomusicologist Dr. Jonathan McCollum, the instrument is depicted in numerous Armenian manuscripts of the Middle Ages, and is “actually the only truly Armenian instrument that’s survived through history, and as such is a symbol of Armenian national identity … The most important quality of the duduk is its ability to express the language dialectic and mood of the Armenian language, which is often the most challenging quality to a duduk player.”[15]

A longer, even more soulful performance

Apricot wood is the favorite material.  Here’s an old video on how they were made in olden times;

How they’re made today;

There are several types of Duduk, also they’re made in different keys;

How to play it;

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