Black Wood or Apricot Wood? Video interview with Djivan Gasparyan

I got acquainted with Hovsep Grigoryan 23 years ago. He was from Gyumri and a man of strong character and principles. He would always do what he thought to be right. He had enough confidence in me to say, “You are the only person who can persuade me to change my mind.”

Following Hovsep Grigoryan’s death, his son Arthur continued his father’s work. Arthur had already been making duduks when his father was alive. I would sometimes say, “Arthur, don’t listen to Hovsep, listen to me.”, and he would say, “I know, Master Djivan, I know.”

In general, my duduks are made by Arthur. A duduk becomes a real duduk if you tune it correctly.

For example, this is a newly-prepared instrument, but there is still a lot of work to do inside of it, or else it will not play properly. Yes, it may play, but a lot of work needs to be done for it to become a real duduk.

If you want to get a good instrument, it must be handmade. Everybody can make a duduk, but not everyone can make one that plays well. Anyone can make it like this. It’s really easy to do. People can even make a person out of wood, but they should understand how to make a duduk so that it plays like a real one.

This wood is unique, not everyone understands the quality of it. They need to understand what part of the tree it came from, and the tree’s origin.

Musical instruments generally come from special woods. For example, the violin is made out of different types of wood, and a duduk cannot be made out of peach or plum wood. The duduk is made out of apricot wood. People have found apricot wood to be the most suitable for duduks.

I have tried duduks made out of different types of wood, from the same woods they make clarinets, bassoons, and oboes out of. I brought these woods from abroad, and Arthur made duduks out of them. However, none of them have the same sound as a duduk made out of apricot.

This is a God given instrument, which has a history of more than 3,000 years.

Translated and read by Thomas J. Schultz and Ammon M. Orrock