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.
This instrument is not to be confused with the northwestern Bulgarian folk instrument of the same name (see below, Balkan duduk).
A duduk mouthpiece
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: 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 breath requirements. The duduk player is called dudukahar (դուդուկահար) 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 kavalče in a part of Macedonia, and as duduk (дудук) 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.
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.
^Stokes, Jamie, ed. (2008). Peoples of Africa and the Middle East, Volume 1. p. 63. ISBN978-0-8160-7158-6. One of the oldest indigenous Armenian instruments is the duduk, a woodwind instrument usually made from apricot wood, with a double reed mouthpiece.
^"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, Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan.
^"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".
^"Дудук [Duduk]" (in Russian). Russian language dictionary in 4 volumes. Volume 1. 1999. Archived from the original on 2009-09-25.
^"дуда"Archived 2011-08-15 at Wikiwix in М. Фасмер (1986), Этимологический Словарь Русского Языка (Москва: Прогресс), 2-е изд. — Перевод с немецкого и дополнения О.Н. Трубачёва
^Broughton, Simon; Ellingham, Mark; and Trillo, Richard, eds. (1999). World Music: Africa, Europe and the Middle East. p. 334. ISBN9781858286358.CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link)
^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. ISBN9781412981767.