The duduk (doo-dook) (Armenian) is an ancient double reed woodwind instrument made of apricot wood. It is indigenous to Armenia although variations of the Duduk are found in other regions of the Caucasus and the Middle East including Azerbaijan, Georgia, Russia and Turkey. It is commonly played in pairs: while the first player plays the song, 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 to more commonly known double reeds. 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. Duduk music has been used in a number of films, most notably in The Russia House and Gladiator.
The word "duduk" (Armenian: ?) is derived from Turkish "düdük" which means whistle. The word dudka in Slavic languages is a diminutive of duda and is of native Proto-Slavic origin.
This instrument is not to be confused with the northwestern Bulgarian folk instrument of the same name (see below, Balkan duduk).
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. 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.
The particular tuning depends heavily on the region in which it is played. In the twentieth century, the Armenian duduk began to be standardized diatonic in scale and single-octave in range. Accidentals, or chromatics are achieved using fingering techniques. The instrument's body also has different lengths depending upon the range of the instrument and region. The reed (Armenian: , e?egn), 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 breath requirements. The duduk player is called dudukahar () in Armenian.
The performer uses air stored in their cheeks to keep playing the instrument while they inhales air into their lungs. This "circular" breathing technique is commonly used with all the double-reed instruments in the Middle East.
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."
Armenian musicologists cite evidence of the duduk's use as early as 1200 BC, though Western scholars suggest it is 1,500 years old. 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 95-55 B.C. 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."
While "duduk" most commonly refers to the double reed instrument described on this page, by coincidence there is a different instrument of the same name played in northwestern Bulgaria. This is a blocked-end flute resembling the Serbian frula, known also as kaval or kaval?e in a part of Macedonia, and as duduk () in northwest Bulgaria. 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. Playing this type of duduk is fairly straightforward and easy, and its sound is clean and pleasant.
In popular culture
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. The duduk was also used extensively in Battlestar Galactica. The duduk was also used in the series Avatar: The Last Airbender. Its computer-altered sound was given to the fictitious Tsungi horn, played by a number of the characters. The sound of the duduk was 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. The duduk is used in the theme song of the Dothraki clan in the TV adaptation of Game of Thrones.
The 2010 Eurovision Song Contest entry from Armenia "Apricot Stone", which finished 7th in the final, featured prominent duduk played by Djivan Gasparyan.
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."
- Angel by Rob Kral
- Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series) by Bear McCreary. Its tracks "Two Funerals", "Starbuck on the Red Moon", "Escape from the Farm", "Colonial Anthem, "Black Market", "Something Dark is Coming", "Martial Law", "Prelude to War" feature the duduk. Roslin's theme was set to lyrics a second time for the third season premiere "Occupation", this time in Armenian.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer by Christophe Beck, Tomas Wanker, Rob Dunkin, Douglas Stevens
- Castle by Robert Duncan
- Children of Dune by Brian Tyler in the tracks "Dune Messiah", "The Throne of Alia", "The Preacher At Arrakeen", "Farewell"
- Cold Case by Michael A. Levine
- CSI: New York by Bill Brown
- Firefly by Greg Edmonson
- Game of Thrones by Ramin Djawadi features the instrument in Daenerys Targaryen's theme
- JAG by Steve Bramson
- The Mummy Who Would Be King by Gil Talmi, Andrew Gross
- Over There by Ed Rogers
- The Pacific by Blake Neely and Geoff Zanelli
- Path to 9/11 by John Cameron
- Rome by Jeff Beal
- Spartacus by Randy Miller. Track Second Thought
- Star Trek: Enterprise by Paul Baillargeon
- Yu-Gi-Oh! by Wayne Sharpe
- Xena: Warrior Princess by Joseph Loduca
Video game scores
- Tales from Earthsea by Tamiya Terashima, in the tracks "The Trip", "The Spider" and "Violent Robbery/The Seduction of the Undead".
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...the duduk (pronounced doo-dook)...
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One of the oldest indigenous Armenian instruments is the duduk, a woodwind instrument usually made from apricot wood, with a double reed mouthpiece.
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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, Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan.
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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".
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These include the use of the duduk as Mr. Tumnus' pipe in "A Narnia Lullaby"...
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