The singing apricot tree of Armenia: Duduk

Lusine Vardanyan | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Legend has it: The wind was in love with the apricot tree and used to play with its green leaves. Once the king of the winds, the storm, learning about this got angry and decided to destroy the forest. The wind told the storm he cannot live without his beloved tree. The storm told he will keep the apricot tree, but the wind will never fly to the blue sky again, otherwise, he will be back to destroy the forest. Autumn came, the leaves of the tree fell down and the wind could not play with her anymore. He got bored and decided to fly to the sky after which the storm broke the branches of the tree. A young man, who was collecting wood to heat the house, took a soft branch of the broken apricot tree and made a body of an instrument. Once he touched it with his leaps the warm, soft and meantime sad sounds of the instrument became a touching music giving a second life to the tree, that was singing her sad love story. Since then this instrument is considered to be the soul of the apricot tree and is called Duduk or Tsiranapogh.


Credits to hanti83

In 2008 Armenian Duduk was inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Duduk’s history dates back to the times of Armenian king Tigran the Great(95-55 BC) and till now is very popular in Armenia.

In Armenia, there are four types of duduks that are widely used. These varieties of duduk give an opportunity to express different moods and the idea of the story behind each music (for example the long duduk that has 40 cm length is used to play love songs, while the shorter one that has 28 cm length is mainly used to play music for dances). Ideally, on the stage there should be two musicians with duduk- one of them plays a continual drone and the other one plays the melody.


Credits to Talashow

If you are thinking of buying one you can find it in Vernissage.

Armenian duduk impressed also an international audience. It is widely used in soundtracks of different movies such as The Gladiator, Ronin and etc., in many popular international songs as well as in works of different international composers such as Yanni and many more. During its life, the apricot tree listens to the sound of nature, a music of the rain, a song of the mountains, the voice of the wind, echo of the rivers… in the hands of talented musicians, duduk seems to be “singing” about all those memories.

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