Armenian Ancestral Music : Hear the Traditional Duduk Wind Instrument in “Game of Thrones” Theme

Not many are aware that one of the prominent musical instruments used in the “Game of Thrones” theme is an Armenian traditional wind instrument called duduk. It is a double-reeded wind instrument that originated as far back as 1200 BC. In Armenian history, duduk music was cultivated during the first century under the reign of Emperor Tigran the Great.

The earliest reed instruments recognized as ancient versions of the Armenian duduk were made of bone or cane. The large unflattened, cylindrical reed produces sounds similar to the English horn. The very largeness of the reed and its proportionate wide opening, gives off a unique sound, many describe as soulful and haunting.

Modern day Armenian duduk is made exclusively from apricot tree wood. In keeping with its representation of Armenian culture, the apricot wood is deemed quite fitting, as the apricot tree produces the country’s national fruit.

The UNESCO Proclaimed the Duduk as a “Masterpiece of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity”

In 2005, the UNESCO included the Armenian duduk in its representative list of Intangible Heritage of Humanity, which the organization officially proclaimed in 2008 as a “Masterpiece of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity.”

The mournful tones are so powerful that the use of duduk has spread to Western civilization, in conveying the essence of movie themes such as that of the 1998 Sean Connery movie “The Russian House” and of Russell Crowe’s 2000 epic film “The Gladiator.”

In the 2005 fantasy movie, “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” the fictional double-reeded flute played by Mr. Tumnus is actually a duduk. The haunting quality of the sound produced by this ancestral musical instrument is widely featured in the phenomenal “Game of Thrones,” an American medieval-themed, fantasy TV series.

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