The duduk is a traditional woodwind instrument of Armenian origins. This English word is often used generically for a family of ethnic instruments including the doudouk or duduk (դուդուկ) (previously dziranapogh (ծիրանափող, literally "apricot horn") in Armenia, the düdük or mey in Turkey, the duduki in Georgia, the balaban in Azerbaijan, the narmeh-ney in Iran, the duduka or dudka in Russia and Ukraine, duduk in Serbia, and the douduk in Bulgaria. The English word has been asserted as derived from the Russian word "dudka", or from the Turkish word "düdük".
The duduk is a double reed
instrument which has ancient origins, said to be from 1500 to 3000 years old. 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. Armenian duduks are mainly made from aged apricot
wood (Prunus armeniaca
, "Armenian plum" in Latin), although other regional varieties use other materials (mulberry, etc.). The particular tuning depends heavily on the region which it is played. In the 20th 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: ղամիշ, ramish
), 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
(դուդուկահար) in Armenian.
The duduk is one of the oldest double reed instruments in the world and dates back over 3,000 years. Variants of the duduk can be found in Armenia and the Caucasus. The roots of Armenian duduk music go back to the times of the Armenian king Tigran the Great (95–55 BC). The instrument is depicted in numerous Armenian manuscripts of the Middle Ages.
While the term duduk mostly refers to a double reed
instrument, it sometimes also refers to a kind of blocked-end flute, which in some part of Macedonia is also called kaval
or kavalče. Made of maple or other wood, it comes in two sizes: 700–780 mm and 240–400 mm (duduce). The blocked end is flat. Playing the duduk is fairly straightforward and easy, thus it is widely used throughout Macedonia. Its sound is clean and pleasant.