Five Mournful Armenian Songs
for Horn and Drone
(a concert C drone is provided with purchase:
alternatively, live performers can sustain a concert C)

Buy "Five Mournful Armenian Songs"

Five Mournful Armenian Songs
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Listen to "Five Mournful Armenian Songs"

"Five Mournful Armenian Songs for Horn and Drone" is an arrangement of melodies by five prominent Armenian musicians spanning nearly 1,000 years.

A drone is provided with this composition, though use of other concert C drones is perfectly fine (just avoid drones with heavy triadic elements, as this music is not built on triadic harmony). Concert C drones played live by other musicians are also encouraged.

The duduk is an Armenian double reed instrument: for some dance music the timbre can be nasal, aggressive, and joyous, but it is most known for being mournful, intense, and full of deep sorrow. I am half Armenian, and I grew up hearing the duduk and always wanted to play it someday. I bought a cheap duduk in the early 2010s: it was frustrating to play, and I hit a wall in my ability and interest. In January of 2023, however, I bought a better instrument and high quality reeds, and I have been playing it nearly every day for the past 6+ months. There are several old songs that have become standards to play on duduk, and as I was practicing them, I thought that a few would also work well on horn.

This music should be played with freedom of tempo and rhythm: playing it"accurately" is not the primary goal: the soul of the music is far more important,and much of that is derived from rhythmic freedom and indivuality of expression.

One of the elements of duduk playing is improvisation via ornamentation: many of the ornaments and figurations are my own interpretation, and as you become familiar with the music, you are welcome (and encouraged) to make any changes you see fit to express each song. Armenian musicians will often add an improvisation after the initial melody has been completed: either based around a repetition of the melody, or more free-form. You are welcome (and encouraged) to add such an improvisation.

Though these arrangements are for horn, they were heavily influenced by the timbre, ornaments, and overall traditions of duduk playing, so if you are not familiar with the sound of a duduk or the style of Armenian duduk playing, I suggest going to YouTube and searching the title of each song + "duduk" to hear some representative examples.

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