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Wind musical instrument - Duduki

Duduki Samples

Duduki is a Georgian national wind musical instrument. It consists of a trunk (pipe) (1) and a mouthpiece (reed) (2) – “Kamish”. The trunk (1) is cut mainly from apricot-tree, mulberry and box trees. It has 8 front keys on the upper side and one key on the lower side. The pipe is 36cm. long. Internal diameter is 10mm. Duduki’s reed is designed separately and inserted into the pipe(2). The Duduki has a diatonic scale. When partly closing the keys by fingers, we get chromatic sounds.

Duduki produces soft and sweet sounds. It is used to perform solo melodies, but is also combined with other instruments. Usually, it is played in a small ensemble with the other two Dudukis and a Doli (drum). One Duduki performs the melody and the other two Dudukis resemble the melody in a suppressed deep voice. A person who plays Doli may also sing while performance. Duduki repertoire is very rich: it consists of everyday songs, comic verses, love, lyrical and dance melodies.

Wind musical instrument - Duduki

Duduki Samples

Duduki has originally come to Georgia from Eastern countries in XVII century. It was an inseparatable part of feasts of old Georgian residents “Karachogheli” and grand dukes. From that time, Duduki’s design has been gradually improved and its repertoire richened with Georgian melodies. The repertoire of Duduki has improved especially since the well known folk musician (singer), Anna Vardiashvili added to the group of Duduki players the third Duduki in the 50’s of XX century (i.e. there are three Dudukis and one Doli in an ensemble nowadays). Since then, the ensemble began to perform three part Georgian (polyphonic) songs and became well known all over Georgia and in many foreign countries.
Duduki, as any wind instrument has its own construction and tonality. One of the main distinguishing qualities of Duduki is the sweet and heart-rending tunes. For this reason, Duduki is called “Tkbili Duduki” (“Sweet Duduki”). Duduki has clear and soft sounding. According to the writer Vasil Barnov, it is difficult to find any other folk musical instrument with sweeter and sadder sounds that tunes are so close to Georgian people. In its tunes Georgian people expressed their sorrows, sentiments, emotional experiences.

Wind musical instrument - Duduki

Duduki Samples

It is noteworthy that there are no direct references about the instrument’s origin and nature in Georgian ancient written records and the name “Duduki” is not mentioned either. In this respect, it is important to take into consideration some oral information kept by people. For example, according to the evidence of 63 year old Niko Davitnidze, made in 1935 (Iv. Djavakhishvili - ”History of the oldest industry”), earlier in Kakheti there was a kind of wind instrument called “Duduki”, which was made of the burnt out timber. At first, it did not have reed, but then people added to it a straw reed and blew into the pipe from it. It had a very deep voice.

Designing Duduki has its own deep traditions in Georgia. Michael Adamashvili, a well-known Duduki player, describes the process of making Duduki in this way: Duduki is mostly made of the apricot and box tree. Duduki made out of apricot tree is more sonorous and resonant than a box-tree one, which has a firm sounding. The timber should be smooth and of about 40-50cm. long. They are kept in dark, cool and dry place for two-three months to let it dry up and wilt completely. This is carried out to keep the wood from cracking. Then the timber is cleaned, drilled from the beginning to the end; the wall thickness should equal 20-21mm. It is bit thicker at the beginning, to insert a reed in it easily, the thickness of which equals 3-4mm.

Duduki I & II Register

Duduki Samples

After this, they curve out 9 oval keys of equal size. Some instrument designers say that old Duduki has 7 keys (6 front, and one back). As for the deep-voiced Duduki, it was first made in 1933. It has 11 keys, but in 1958, Michael Adamashvili presented a more advanced version of this instrument that has 9 keys (7th key is placed a bit lower than the 11th key that helps to produce rich sounds). After this, they put it the pipe into rendered fat or pour it into, in order to soak its walls and make them waterproof. Then they put the pipe for a couple of days in a mortargrout. The lime should be new. That gives its characteristic dark-brown color to timber. The reed (“Kamishi”) is made of old straw. It should be 2cm. long and 1cm thick. Duduki is produced in many places of Georgia: Tbilisi, Gori, Dirbi, Ikalto etc. The village Dirbi is recognized to be a very important center of Duduki production. The well-known Duduki players: Gola, Cigana, Tiga, David Zubiashvili were from Dirbi.

Michael Adamashvili tells us that according to our ancestors, Duduki is an original Georgian instrument. Sometimes people confuse Duduki with Zurna. The latter is not a Georgian instrument. He says he has visited many countries, but could not find Duduki like instrument anywhere. But Zurna was practically everywhere.

Tuning of the duduki: g – a – b – c1 – d1 – es1 – f1 – g1.
Duduki sample tuning

Japan, China, India and Cambodia have similar instruments to Duduki. Duduki is very a peculiar and sweet instrument and it is quite difficult to master playing it. There were many well-known Duduki players: Pavle Maisuradze, Vano Razmadze, Data Zubiashvili, Aveta Tetriashvili and so on. Old Duduki players performed any kind of melody without notes but so clearly that it was not difficult for a specialist to write down the notes of them.

Duduki Samples

Here you can listen some sample recordings of Duduki:
1. David Kavtaradze - Sample melody on Duduki
2. David Kavtaradze - "Dilis Saari"
3. G.Giorgadze, D.Kavtaradze - "Georgian Dance Melody" (Daira and Duduki)
4. G.Shengelia, D.Kavtaradze - Georgian Dance Melody (Doli and Duduki)
5. Ensemble "Rustavi" - "Dilis Saari"
6. Ensemble "Rustavi" - Dance Melody "Samaia"
7. Ensemble "Urmuli" - "City Bohemia"
8. Ensemble "Rustavi" - "Bagdaduri" - Dance melody
9. Ensemble "Urmuli" - "Dilis Saari"

 

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