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Both the body and reed of the duduk need care. The body does not require much maintenance, while the reed needs extra attention since it is very delicate.
Before playing, check whether your reed is open or closed, as humidity levels may affect this. The reed should never be pushed from the sides if it is closed. Pour some water inside and let it sit for about 15-20 minutes.
Adjust the reed mouth opening and pitch by moving the regulator (parda, փարդա). As the regulator is lowered, the aperture of the reed is closed, causing pitch to be higher. Conversely, if the regulator is moved up, the aperture will be enlarged and the pitch will be lower than before.
It is very important to close the reed correctly after playing it. Correct placement of the cap protects the reed and makes it play well for many years to come.
Most reeds need to be played in order to improve their sound. These days, reeds are crafted to already play well. When purchasing reeds, choose medium or hard reeds rather than soft reeds that make a buzzing sound. Play them out to attain the top quality sound.
Artak has presented examples of good duduk sounds as well as what not to do. Check it out at 8:20.
Duduk fingering. Artak demonstrates two main duduk fingering types and discusses what to avoid when holding duduk. Relaxing your fingers will help you play better and progress faster.
Breathing. Duduk requires complete lip relaxation when playing notes A and higher in contrast to other woodwinds (e.g. oboe, clarinet). Artak explains how the lips can be placed properly on the reed.
First lesson. For the first lesson, just play as long as you can, focusing on finger relaxation, sound, and clarity.