Woodwind instrument
Classification Wind instrument with double reed
Related instruments
Closely related instruments include the Mey (Turkey), Balaban (Azerbaijan, Iran), Yasti Balaban (Dagestan), Duduki (Georgia), Duduk (Armenia), Hichiriki (Japan), Piri (Korea), Guanzi (China), and Kamis Sirnay (Kyrgyzstan),
Djivan Gasparyan, Gevorg Dabaghyan, Vache Hovsepyan, Levon Minassian, Pedro Eustache
Karlen Matevosyan, Arthur Grigoryan, Hovsep Grigoryan
Sound sample
Duduk and its music
Armenian kids playing duduk
DomainsPerforming arts (music)
RegionEurope and North America
Inscription history
Inscription2008 (3rd session)

The duduk (/dˈdk/ doo-DOOK; Armenian: դուդուկ IPA: [duˈduk])[1] or tsiranapogh (Armenian: ծիրանափող, meaning "apricot-made wind instrument"), is a double reed woodwind instrument made of apricot wood originating from Armenia.[2][3] Variations of the Armenian duduk appear throughout the Caucasus and the Middle East, including Bulgaria, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kurdistan, Turkey, and Iran.[4][5] Duduk, Kaval , Balaban, and Mey are almost identical, except for historical and geographical differences.[6]

It is commonly played in pairs: while the first player plays the melody, the second plays a steady drone called dum, and the sound of the two instruments together creates a richer, more haunting sound. The unflattened reed and cylindrical body produce a sound closer to the English horn than the oboe or bassoon. Unlike other double reed instruments like the oboe or shawm, the duduk has a very large reed proportional to its size.

UNESCO proclaimed the Armenian duduk and its music as a Masterpiece of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2005 and inscribed it in 2008.[7][8] Duduk music has been used in a number of films, most notably in The Russia House and Gladiator.


There have been two published lines of thinking on the origins of the word.

Both the Russian book Musical Instruments Encyclopedia (Музыкальные инструменты. Энциклопедия) and American book Musical Instruments, A Comprehensive Dictionary give an ultimate origin of the name as Persian, the word tutak.[9][10]

In Armenia, the instrument is also known as tsiranapogh (ծիրանափող [hy]).

This instrument is not to be confused with the northwestern Bulgarian folk instrument of the same name (see below, Balkan duduk). Similar instruments used in other parts of Western Asia are the mey and balaban.


A duduk reed

The duduk is a double reed instrument with ancient origins, having existed since at least the fifth century, while there are Armenian scholars who believe it existed more than 1,500 years before that.[11] The earliest instruments similar to the duduk's present form are made of bone or entirely of cane. Today, the duduk is exclusively made of wood with a large double reed, with the body made from aged apricot wood.[12]

The particular tuning depends heavily on the region in which it is played. An eight-hole duduk (not counting the thumb hole on the lower side) can play ten successive notes of a diatonic scale with simple fingering, or sixteen consecutive notes of a chromatic scale by half-covering holes. For example, an A duduk can play all the notes from F♯ to the A more than an octave higher.[13][14] (Another reference gives different information.[15]) By using the lips to "bend" notes and partially covering holes any pitch in this range can be produced, as required for Oriental music.[16] The instrument's body has different lengths depending upon the range of the instrument and region. The reed (Armenian: եղեգն, eġegn), is made from one or two pieces of cane in a duck-bill type assembly. Unlike other double-reed instruments, the reed is quite wide, helping to give the duduk both its unique, mournful sound, as well as its remarkable breathing requirements. The duduk player is called dudukahar (դուդուկահար) in Armenian.

The performers use air stored in their cheeks to keep playing the instrument while they inhale air into their lungs. This "circular" breathing technique is commonly used with all the double-reed instruments in the Middle East.[17]

Duduk "is invariably played with the accompaniment of a second dum duduk, which gives the music an energy and tonic atmosphere, changing the scale harmoniously with the principal duduk."[18]


Armenian musicologists cite evidence of the duduk's use as early as 1200 BC, though Western scholars suggest it is 1,500 years old.[19][unreliable source?] 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, who reigned from 95 to 55 B.C.[20] 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."[21]

Balkan duduk

While "duduk" most commonly refers to the double reed instrument described on this page, there is a very similar instrument played in northwestern Bulgaria. This is a blocked-end flute known as a kaval, resembling the Serbian frula, or kavalče in a part of Macedonia,[22] and as duduk in northwest Bulgaria.[23][24] Made of maple or other wood, it comes in two sizes: 700–780 millimetres (28–31 in) and 240–400 millimetres (9.4–15.7 in) (duduce). The blocked end is flat.

In popular culture

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The sound of the duduk has become known to wider audiences through its use in popular film soundtracks. Starting with Peter Gabriel's score for Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ, the duduk's archaic and mournful sound has been employed in a variety of genres to depict such moods. Djivan Gasparyan played the duduk in Gladiator, Syriana, and Blood Diamond, among others.[25][unreliable source?] It was also used extensively in Battlestar Galactica.[26] In the TV series Avatar: The Last Airbender, its computer-altered sound was given to the fictitious Tsungi horn, most notably played by Iroh and often being featured in the show's soundtrack. With many of the members who worked on ATLA now working on The Dragon Prince, the duduk regularly appears in its soundtrack as well. The sound of the duduk was also used in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe for a lullaby which Mr. Tumnus plays on a fictitious double flute and in the theme song of the Dothraki clan during the TV adaptation Game of Thrones.[27][28]

Armenia's entry in the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest, "Apricot Stone," featured Armenian musician Djivan Gasparyan playing the duduk.

Film soundtracks

The duduk has been used in a number of films, especially "to denote otherworldliness, loneliness, and mourning or to supply a Middle Eastern/Central Asian atmosphere".[29]

Benik Ignatyan playing the duduk at the Armenian Genocide memorial complex in Yerevan, Armenia, 1997.
Duduk player at the Forom des langues du monde [fr] in Toulouse, France.

Television soundtracks

Video game scores

Popular music

Anime soundtracks

See also


  1. ^ "The Duduk and National Identity in Armenia". Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society. 32. American Musical Instrument Society: 183. 2006. ...the duduk (pronounced doo-dook)...
  2. ^ McCollum, Jonathan (2016). "Duduk (i)". Grove Music Online. doi:10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.L2294963.
  3. ^ "…which is indigenous to Armenia,…" Archived 2018-05-09 at the Wayback Machine, World Music: Africa, Europe and the Middle East p.335
  4. ^ Stokes, Jamie, ed. (2008). Peoples of Africa and the Middle East, Volume 1. p. 63. ISBN 978-0-8160-7158-6. One of the oldest indigenous Armenian instruments is the duduk, a woodwind instrument usually made from apricot wood, with a double reed.
  5. ^ "Armenian duduk and other Armenian folk instruments" (PDF). UNESCO. June 2003. p. 32. Retrieved 16 March 2014. 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, Bulgaria, Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan.
  7. ^ "Sounds of Armenian duduk". UNESCO. November 2012. Archived from the original on 16 March 2014. Duduk and its music were inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2008 (originally proclaimed in 2005). The duduk, or "dziranapogh" in Armenian, is a double-reed woodwind instrument made of apricot wood, conventionally called the "Armenian oboe".
  8. ^ "Duduk and its music". UNESCO. Archived from the original on 16 March 2014. Retrieved 16 March 2014.
  9. ^ Marcuse, Sibyl (1964). "Duduk". Musical Instruments, A Comprehensive Dictionary. Garden City, New York: Doubleday. p. 157.
  10. ^ Есипова М. В., ed. (2008). "Дудук (свистковая флейта и язычковый духовой инструмент)". Музыкальные инструменты. Энциклопедия. Moscow: Дека-ВС. pp. 207–209. [Information in English: Musical instruments. Encyclopedia Publisher: Deca-Sun, The year of publishing: 2008, Place of publication: Moscow, Text language: Russian, Editor/compiler: Esipova M.V., ISBN 978-5-901951-40-8]
  11. ^ Broughton, Simon; Ellingham, Mark; Trillo, Richard, eds. (1999). World Music: Africa, Europe and the Middle East. p. 334. ISBN 9781858286358.
  12. ^ Andrea L. Stanton; Edward Ramsamy; Peter J. Seybolt, eds. (2012). Cultural Sociology of the Middle East, Asia, and Africa: An Encyclopedia. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications. p. 167. ISBN 9781412981767.
  13. ^ "Duduk Fingering Chart". ArmenianDuduk.am.
  14. ^ "HOW TO PLAY DUDUK 3: Playing a scale". YouTube. DudukLessons.com.
  15. ^ Dr John Vartan (2000). "Armenian Duduk An Instructional Book For Beginners" (PDF). American Recording Productions.
  16. ^ David Brown. "The Duduk & Mey: History, Info and Set-Up". Lark in the morning.
  17. ^ Albright, Ch. (15 December 1988). "BĀLĀBĀN". Encyclopaedia Iranica. Archived from the original on 16 March 2014.
  18. ^ "WWW.DUDUK.CO.UK - Professional Armenian Duduks, Zurnas, Ghamish by Master Arthur Grigoryan". Archived from the original on 2006-03-04. Retrieved 2006-02-20. Duduk Info at Ethnicinstruments.co.uk
  19. ^ "Gasparyan, Djivan | Encyclopedia.com". www.encyclopedia.com. Archived from the original on June 28, 2011.
  20. ^ "The roots of Armenian duduk music go back to the times of the Armenian king Tigran the Great (95-55 BC)": "The Duduk and its Music Archived 2014-03-16 at the Wayback Machine. UNESCO. Accessed February 8, 2010.
  21. ^ Turpin, Andy (12 February 2010). "Nothing Sounds Armenian Like a Duduk: ALMA Lecture". Armenian Weekly. Archived from the original on 12 March 2012. Retrieved 16 March 2014.
  22. ^ www.macedoniadirect.com/instruments/supelki.htm Archived 2006-05-25 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ "Дудук : Horo.bg - българският сайт за народни хора, песни, танци, обичаи, фолклор" (in Bulgarian). Horo.bg. Archived from the original on 2013-09-27. Retrieved 2013-09-22.
  24. ^ For a detailed description of the instrument (in Bulgarian), see "Бит и култура | Речник на остарели, редки, чуждици и диалектни думи ДЛ-ДУ". Archived from the original on 2012-02-16. Retrieved 2012-03-04.
  25. ^ "Jivan Gasparyan". IMDb. Archived from the original on 16 February 2017. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  26. ^ "Bear McCreary – Official site". www.bearmccreary.com. 28 September 2006. Archived from the original on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  27. ^ "Harry Gregson-Williams Talks Narnia & Narnian Lullaby Clip". Archived from the original on July 21, 2012.
  28. ^ No flutes allowed: Composer Ramin Djawadi on the music of 'Game of Thrones' Archived 2016-11-01 at the Wayback Machine, Deutsche Welle
  29. ^ Hung, Eric (2011). Leonard, Kendra Preston (ed.). Buffy, Ballads, and Bad Guys Who Sing: Music in the Worlds of Joss Whedon. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. p. 259. ISBN 9780810877658.
  30. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y "Chris Bleth Movie Credits". Chrisbleth.com. Archived from the original on 16 March 2014.
  31. ^ "Gladiator (Soundtrack) by Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard". www.tracksounds.com. Archived from the original on 20 June 2006. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  32. ^ "Hotel Rwanda Film Music""Hotel Rwanda: Rupert Gregson-Williams, Andrea Guerra: Film Music on the Web CD Reviews April 2006". Archived from the original on 2011-11-29. Retrieved 2011-09-20.
  33. ^ "Hulk Editorial Review". Filmtracks. 8 June 2003. Archived from the original on 22 July 2003.
  34. ^ Brennan, Mike (2 December 2005). "The Chronicles of Narnia Review". Archived from the original on 16 March 2014. These include the use of the duduk as Mr. Tumnus' pipe in "A Narnia Lullaby"...
  35. ^ Savita Gautham. "inese rhapsody". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 2004-02-25. Retrieved 2003-10-23.((cite web)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  36. ^ King, Darryn (22 October 2021). "How Hans Zimmer Conjured the Otherworldly Sounds of 'Dune'". The New York Times.
  37. ^ Broxton, Jonathan (8 March 2024). "DUNE, PART TWO – Hans Zimmer | MOVIE MUSIC UK". Movie Music UK.
  38. ^ "Instruments of Battlestar Galactica: Duduk". Bearmccreary.com. 2006-09-28. Archived from the original on 2010-05-31. Retrieved 2010-02-15.
  39. ^ Runner, Blade (2004-02-26). "Duduk: The Instrument That Makes Hollywood Cry". Galactica-station.blogspot.com. Archived from the original on 2011-07-08. Retrieved 2010-02-15.
  40. ^ "Battlestar Galactica: Season Two". Musicweb-international.com. Archived from the original on 2011-10-14. Retrieved 2010-02-15.
  41. ^ "Children of Dune". Cinemusic.net. Archived from the original on November 15, 2009. Retrieved 2010-02-15.
  42. ^ "'Game of Thrones' Composer Ramin Djawadi: 'I'm Just Trying to Create Something Magical' (Q&A)". The Hollywood Reporter. 15 April 2013. Archived from the original on 2013-12-25. Retrieved 2013-12-27.
  43. ^ "Jeff Beal - Interview". www.soundtrack.net. Archived from the original on 9 May 2018. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  44. ^ "The Role of Orchestration and Instrumentation in The Dragon Prince: Piano and Death". Max Luo. Retrieved 2021-01-11.
  45. ^ "Civ5in". Michaelcurran.net. Archived from the original on 2013-09-27. Retrieved 2013-09-22.
  46. ^ "Rome - Augustus Caesar War - "Ancient Roman Melody Fragments" by Geoff Knorr". ISSUU. Archived from the original on 2015-04-22. Retrieved 2013-09-22.
  47. ^ Bloodworth, Daniel (2012-04-09). "BackTrack: Composing Mass Effect – Jack Wall Interview, Part 1 | Side Mission". GameTrailers. Archived from the original on 2012-06-05. Retrieved 2013-09-22.
  48. ^ Benoit Basirico (2005-11-14). "Gedo Senki (Les Contes de Terremer)". Cinezik.org. Archived from the original on 2009-05-01. Retrieved 2010-02-15.

Further reading