Instrument description :
This wind instrument of Armenian origin consists of a cylindrical body (made from apricot-tree wood) and a double reed. There are 8 finger holes on the duduk’s front and two thumbholes on its back. A piece of reed acts as sound and air regulator. The duduk is a simple instrument but one that produces a unique sound.
Armenia is a small country in the south of Caucasus and the depository for a very ancient culture. Its neighbours include Iran, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia. Armenia, like Iran, has an ancestral musical tradition that is the source for its maqam (musical modes). All musical traditions from the Caucasus and Turkey currently use the duduk, although each one is particular.
For the Armenians, the duduk plays the same role as the violin for the Jewish people. These two peoples share a traumatic past and found a way of expressing the pain of these lived tragedies through their respective instruments.
The duduk can played solo or as accompaniment. When played solo, it is customary for it to be supported by another duduk – while the soloist plays the melody, the second provides a fortifying bass drone. The Armenians call this Dam.
Class contents :
Aims of each level
First level :
Learn to play an octave major scale and the bayati Chiraz mode, with different techniques, different attacks and vibrato. Learn an etude, two or three slow pieces, one or two dances and an extract of religious music.
Second level :
Progress the knowledge learnt in the first level by working on speed and learning three fundamental techniques of the duduk: throat, finger and lip styles in addition to circular breathing. You will also learn several scales, a maqam with modulations, a study from the religious repertoire and pieces involving several instruments.
Third level :
Master the seven important modes of the Caucasus and their modulations; the five religious modes; play different pieces and learn to accompany different styles of dance from the Caucasus from different eras.
For students aiming at a professional career, it is advised that they further deepen their knowledge through becoming familiar with two other popular instruments: the zourna (close to the oboe) and the chevi (close to the recorder). Although the technique for these two instruments differs at certain points from the duduk, it is part of the tradition that a good duduk player practices them.
After studying at the Conservatory of Erevan, the capital of Armenia, Lévon Chatikyan obtained a diploma in popular music and a teaching certificate. He became part of the Tatoul Altounian ensemble, at the side of his teacher Jivan Gasparian, and performed on numerous tours, before founding his own Armenian dance and music group.
He moved to France in 2004 and began a career as a duduk teacher at the Conservatoire de Romans. Among various projects, he recorded a CD with the Armenian pianist Tigran Hamasyan, with whom he toured across Europe.
He has compiled his own duduk teaching method and gives master classes at various conservatories across France. He is particularly active in the diffusion of popular and traditional Armenian music and heads several projects aimed at increasing awareness of the duduk, notably within the UNESCO framework.