Duduk Armenian Folk Instrument

Context: The duduk is an Armenian instrument originating some 3000 years ago. It is a wind instrument which was at one point made of bone, but now it’s made from wood. The Armenian Genocide took place from 1915 to 1923 and it included the targeted murder of around one million Armenians. Informant GG describes the duduk’s use and cultural significance.

Main Piece: Transcript:

GG: There’s usually two people playing [the duduk]. One plays a steady “dum” while the other plays on top. The interesting thing about it is how somber it sounds… It’s usually associated with sad things like the Armenian Genocide… if you see anything about that you’ll notice in the background that the Duduk is what’s being played.

The duduk is often played at live performances today, and as GG said, it’s somber sound can be associated closely with tragic events, such as the Armenian Genocide, or at funerals and community services. 

Thoughts: Music which accompanies a cultural aspect of society can often set the tone for how that culture is represented to its participants. Because Armenians have historically experienced such terrible events, the use of the duduk as a cultural instrument to display feelings of sadness can help non-Armenians understand the loss that the country and people saw with the Armenian Genocide.