2009 Duduk lament and zurna dance: a musical typology of emotion in Yezidi ritual calendar

Kurds and Kurdistan: history, politics, culture, Exeter University (UK), 2-3 April.


In the Yezidi community of Armenia, music keeps a major role in the dynamics of identity perceptions and communal self-definitions. By analyzing enunciation in performance, this article will demonstrate the similarities among funeral laments, epic songs, exile songs and the playing of duduk (a kind of oboe). Regarded as “words on” (kilame ser), these four types of enunciation share melodic, metric, gestual and emotional codes. According to local typologies, the above codes are opposed to those of the song (stran), a term referring to wedding musics and the zurna (another type of oboe). The opposition between word and song is also related to a series of antinomic couples, such as exile vs. household, sadness vs. joy, or duduk vs. zurna. An analysis of these music and enunciation typologies of emotion will allow an approach to Yezidi ritual and calendar time.