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Instruments

In this category we introduce musical instruments in our shop. We write about our favourite instruments and we present the most exciting new instruments in our shop here.
  • BITTER APRICOT needs your support

    The team of blende39 needs your support to finish the documentary film BITTER APRICOT. On the crowdfunding site Kickstarter you can support them with your donation. (link here)

    Read here what BITTER APRICOT is about in the words of blende39:

    BITTER APRICOT tells the story of a sound that mesmerizes people all over the world. The power of this music connects the whole nation of Armenians. This unique sound inspires and excites international musicians like Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel or Hans Zimmer. Like them, we’re going to search for the instrument that sparked their imagination: A flute made of apricot wood, called the Duduk (Tzirana Pogh). The man and master behind this instrument is Djivan Gasparyan. The film is a portrait of the artist who first heard the sound of the Duduk as a small boy in an open air silent movie theatre in Yerevan, who travelled through the whole of the Soviet Union as a young man and who impressed Hollywood to become an ambassador for Armenian music in the world. At Gasparyan's side is his grandson, Djivan Junior, who will take over his legacy. We're witnessing a transmission process full of love and knowledge of a tradition that is thousands of years old.

    Our first journey to Armenia began with the search for the secret of the sound of the Duduk. A sound that wasn’t familiar, but stirred something deep inside of us. When we met Djivan in Yerevan we realized that the power of his music would be a spiritual journey into the heart of the Armenian culture. Ever since we feel strongly connected to the Armenian people and their culture. Through their music we experience and understand the Armenian identity and the power of a connecting sound. Our perspective as filmmakers gives us the opportunity to be ambassadors for the music on a visual layer. In April 2015 we went to Armenia the second time. We filmed the concerts by Djivan Sr. & Djivan Jr. in commemoration of the Armenian Genozide at the memorial Tzitzernakaberd and at the Spendiarov opera. We were overwhelmed by the intense mood and energy of the Armenians in this historical moment and grateful that we had the chance to be with Djivan and all those wonderful musicians.

  • Krishna's instrument: The Bansuri and the "divine tone"

    Christian Lärchenwald plays Bansuri Christian Lärchenwald plays Bansuri

    The Bansuri bamboo flute is one of the best-known Indian instruments. Owing to the fact that the flute was played mainly within the context of Indian folk music, it has been part of the canon of instruments of classical Indian music since the last century. The word bansuri is composed of the Sanskrit words "bans" (bamboo) and "sur" (melody). The instrument is historically tied to Indian mythology.

    The Indian bamboo flute, bansuri, was first mentioned in Vedic texts from the 6th century before Christ . The Bansuri belongs to the most sacred and oldest music instruments in India. It is connected to the Indian God Krishna. Krishna is shown cross-legged and playing a flute in many depictions. The sound of Krishna's instruments is said to have had beguiling effects on people and animals.

    In Buddist representations the Bansuri is played equally by human and godly beings. It accompanies singing, but also appears as part of ensembles. For centuries, the Indian flute sounded on religious occasions. There are different types of Bansuris that were played on different occasions.

    Professional Bansuris by Partha Sarkar in the DAN MOI Shop Professional Bansuris by Partha Sarkar in the DAN MOI Shop

    As well as the cavity one blows through, the bansuri boasts six, on some instruments even seven more holes, set out in a line which are opened and closed using the fingers of both hands. By blowing the flute and by moving the fingers you control not only the sound of the instrument, but also the tones and pitches. To play the flute, it is held laterally in a horizontal position with the instrument pointed slightly downwards. The thumbs hold the bansuri in position. In classical Indian music, these flutes are now often gladly used because they allow better control of sound and tonal variety. There are also bansuris which are longitudinal flutes. They are mostly played in Indian folk music.

    The bansuris are originally tuned to the "divine tone" A = 432 Hz. Therefore, all tones of the instrument sound a little lower compared to the concert pitch A = 440 Hz. This somewhat lower tuning is sometimes described as the "better frequency". To some people's ears, instruments tuned to 432 Hz sound more relaxed, peaceful and centered. This perception also corresponds to number cosmological contexts.

  • Grief, Magic and Bliss: The Duduk as a Deeply Impressiv World Music Instrument

    Duduk played by Roxi, co-founder of DAN MOI Duduk played by Roxi, co-founder of DAN MOI

    The typical sound of the Duduk is often described as contemplative and melancholic. The Armenian double-reed woodwind instrument again and again enchants people with its smooth sounds. Actually the repertoire of sad songs for the Duduk is by far larger than that of hilarious or dancing tunes. But what does sad mean? Which feelings and temper can be expressed with the Duduk? And when does the Duduk sound bright and jovial?

    "The Duduk is the only instrument that makes me cry", said Aram Khachaturian, the Armenian composer. In fact, it is an extraordinary sensibility that speaks from the sounds or the Duduk. In contrast to other forms of oboe instruments, such like Zurna or Shehnai, it seems benignity flows out of the Duduk: subtle, feathery, gauzy and sometimes fragile sounds characterize the instrument. That's the reason why in Armenia the Duduk is more often played on occasions like funkerals that require a gentle, empathetic sound, rather than weddings, birthdays or baptism. The music of two Duduks that is played at funerals is highly regarded in Armenia: One Duduk plays the constant drone. And the other Duduk plays the melody, adorned with melisma, vibrati and slides.

    However, it is said about the Duduk that it is able to express sadness and joy simultaneously. At least a pair of Duduks is set up in nearly every folk ensemble in Armenia. In combination with, for example, with Dhol, Kanun and Kamancheh, the Duduk looses its melancholy and gains lightness. The ensembles play at public events and concerts and often serve as the musical setting for Armenian dance groups. In this context, the Gurdjieff Ensemble is definitely worth listening to:

    It is understood by some Armenians that the Duduk is a 'serious' musical instrument not only because it is played at funerals but also because a certain maturity of its players is required. Not every one could play it, because it requires more skill than other, similar instruments. Such ideas are circulating today around Armenian Duduk players to keep the myth and the unique character of the Duduk alive.

    In the meantime however, lots of people have taken up the instrument including those outside of Armenia. The Duduk is thus perfect for those who enjoy sounds and who enjoy tracing sounds and dedicating time to them. It is an instrument for sound researchers who are searching for yet not heard opportunities for combination with other music instruments and styles of music. It is a tool for acoustic researchers who are looking for possibilities of combinations, yet unheard of, with other musical instruments and musical styles. Without a doubt, the Duduk is a delight for all those who are setting the magic, the invisible in motion, by means of sound and music.

    The Venezuelan musician Pedro Eustache sets the duduk very successfully in a variety of styles, including pop music, classical music and music in films:

    Other musical groups with inspiring new style contexts and range of use of the Duduk are the World Music Ensemble SANS and the Music Project „Sakina & Roye Ma“ with Emrah Oguztürk, a specialist for the double-reed instruments Duduk, Zurna and Mey.

    And for all Spotify users there is a nice Duduk Playlist here.

    Duduk Music Recommendations And here are some Duduk listening recommendations.

     

     

     

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