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Music of Armenia

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Title: Music of Armenia  
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Subject: Culture of Armenia, Music of Turkey, Armenian cuisine, Iranian folk music, Music of Cyprus
Collection: Armenian Music
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Music of Armenia

The music of DerHova, pop singers Hasmik Karapetyan, Sirusho and many others.


  • Melodic basis 1
  • Folk music 2
  • Classical music 3
  • Religious music 4
  • Jazz 5
  • Popular music 6
    • Pop music 6.1
      • Rabiz music 6.1.1
    • Rock 6.2
    • Hip-hop 6.3
  • Armenian musicians from the Diaspora 7
  • Samples 8
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11
    • Video 11.1

Melodic basis

Traditional Armenian folk music as well as Armenian church music is not based on the European tonal system but on a system of Tetrachords.[1] The last note of one tetrachord also serves as the first note of the next tetrachord – which makes a lot of Armenian folk music more or less based on a theoretically endless scale.

Folk music

Armenians have had a long tradition of folk music from the antiquity. Under Yeghish Manoukian, as well as Armenia's most famous duduk player, Djivan Gasparyan.

Armenian folk musicians

Earlier in Armenian history, instruments like the Valya Samvelyan, Rima Saribekyan, Susanna Safarian, Manik Grigoryan, and Flora Martirosian.

Armenian emigrants from other parts of the Middle East settled in various countries, especially in the Karnig Sarkissian and others performed Armenian Revolutionary Songs which quickly became popular among the Armenian Diaspora, notably ARF supporters. In Tehran Iran the folk music of the Armenian community is characterized by the work of Nikol Galanderian (1881–1946) and the Goghtan choir.

Other Armenian musicians include Ara Topouzian who performs on the kanun and VANArmenya,[2] who sings both folk, children's and patriotic songs, performs on keyboards, and promotes the music of "the other Gomidas," Grikor Mirzaian.[3]

There are several folk ensembles from Armenia, the Shoghaken Folk Ensemble, founded in 1995 in Yerevan,[4] has worldwide popularity,[5] and others such as the Arev Armenian Folk Ensemble.

Arto Tunçboyacıyan is a well known Turkish musician of Armenian descent, who is famous in Turkey and worldwide, and currently has his own jazz club in Yerevan, Armenia. He was the founder of the Armenian Navy Band.

Classical music

Armenian classical composers include Anahit Tsitsikian (1926–1999), Arno Babadjanyan (1921–1983), Barseg Kanatchian (1885–1967), Edward Mirzoyan (1921–2012), Boris Parsadanian (1925–1997), Ashot Zohrabyan (1945 -), and Aram Satian (1947 –) represent other Soviet era Armenian composers. Iosif Andriasov's (1933–2000) music and ethics made him internationally recognized as one of the most important figures in contemporary culture. Alexander Arutiunian (1920–2012) is best known for his Trumpet Concerto in A-flat major. Alexander Dolukhanian (1910–1968) composed/arranged numerous Armenian songs including the well-known "Swallow". Alexander Adgemian (1925–1987), Ashot Satian (1906–1958) and Vagarshak Kotoyan (1921–1992) are known for their contributions to Armenian choral and vocal music. Eduard Abramian (1923–1986) wrote songs on the poetry of Armenian poets Hovhannes Tumanyan and Avetik Isahakian which are now part of the standard repertoire. Artemi Ayvazyan (1902–1975) wrote the first Soviet musical comedies, including the popular "Dentist from the Orient". In recent years, Avet Terterian (1929–1994), Tigran Mansurian (1939– ), Vache Sharafyan (1966) and Aram Petrosyan (1972– ) have achieved global success. Another acclaimed, more recent, classical composer is Khachatur Avetissian (1926–1996), many of whose compositions are based on traditional folklore themes. Uruguayan-Armenian composer Coriún Aharonián (1940– ), besides a notable body of avant-garde compositions has done extensive musicological and political work. The Armenian nationalist composer Alexander Kaloian (1962– ) is known for his overtly nationalistic works for Military Band and Orchestra including Marches, Tone Poems and Symphonies immediately recognizable as "Armenian" in their colour.[6]

In classical music, many Armenian singers have gained worldwide recognition: sopranos Gohar Gasparyan, Sona Ghazarian, Arpine Pehlivanian, Lucine Amara, Cathy Berberian and, more recently, Isabel Bayrakdarian and Anna Kasyan, tenors Tigran Levonyan, Gegham Grigoryan, and Vahan Mirakyan; basses Ara Berberian, and Henrik Alaverdian, as well as the bass-baritone Barsegh Toumanian.

In the Diaspora, famous Armenian musicians such as Kim Kashkashian, Levon Chilingirian and composers such as Alan Hovhaness have reached international fame.

Scott Giles (1965–) is an Armenian-American known for his many symphonies and concertos. Armenian-Canadian composer Vahram Sargsyan (1981– ) represents the younger generation of Armenian contemporary music composers who is mostly known for his choral compositions.[7]

Religious music

Armenian chant, composed in one of eight modes, is the most common kind of religious music in Armenia. It is written in khaz, a form of indigenous musical notation. Many of these chants are ancient in origin, extending to pre-Christian times, while others are relatively modern, including several composed by Saint Mesrop Mashtots, who re-introduced the Armenian alphabet. Some of the best performers of these chants or sharakans, are at the Holy Cathedral of Etchmiadzin, and include the late soprano Lusine Zakaryan.

Armenian religious music remained liturgical until Komitas Vardapet introduced polyphony in the end of the 19th century. Apart from his contribution to religious music, Komitas may be considered the founder of modern classical Armenian music. From 1899 to 1910, he travelled through the Armenian highlands and collected more than 3,000 folk tunes many of which he harmonized and transformed into Lieder.


The first jazz-band of Yerevan was founded in 1936. Soviet Jazz was developed by Armenians such as Artemi Ayvazyan, who founded the Armenian State Estrada Orchestra in 1938. The conventional performers in the vocal genre have been: Georgi Minasian, Artashes Avetyan, and Levon Sevan. There are Jazz influenced singers who are popular in Armenia such as Aramo.

Popular music

Pop music

In pop music, Suzan Yakar and Udi Hrant Kenkulian were famous cabaret singers in Turkey during the 1920s and 1930s. The most prominent female representatives of modern Armenian pop music include Bella Darbinyan, Raisa Mkrtchyan, and the more contemporary vocal performers such as Elvina Makaryan, Erna Yuzbashian, Nadezhda Sargsian, Zara Tonikyan, Suzan Margaryan, Tatevik Hovhannisyan. The Armenian male pop performers in the diaspora are Adiss Harmandian. Paul Baghdadlian, Rouben Hakhverdian, Forsh, VANArmenya and Aram Avagyan are prominent lyricists and author-performers.

American composer Cross Rhythms, Europe’s leading religious magazine and web portal said of “Adana”, “seldom has a disaster of untold suffering produced such a magnificent piece of art.”

Today's Armenian traditional songs can be associated with performers such as Rouben Matevosian, Ophelia Hambardzumyan, Varduhi Khachatrian, and Papin Poghosian.

Rabiz music

Rabiz is a term which is often used to refer to genre of Armenian popular music. Rabiz music is distinguished by lyrics and music with elements of Armenian folk music.

Despite wide use the term Rabiz is not clearly defined. According to some sources it stems from Russian phrase "рабочее исскуство"(raboche'e iskustvo) used during Soviet times, literally meaning "labour's art". But even in this case it lost initial meaning. Though large group of singers and their listeners refer to Rabiz as a music genre, the term is also used widely to refer to a lifestyle. Rabiz refers not only to taste of music, but also to fashion and lifestyle.[8] Although the meaning of this use is largely dependent on personal taste and/or musical preferences of the speaker.

It is listened widely throughout the youth of Armenians in Los Angeles, Armenia, and Russia called rabiz. Rabiz music is music mostly played by musicians such as Tatoul Avoyan, Hayko Ghevondyan, and formerly Armenchik. It has taken the face of Armenian music due to its catchy beats and dance type music. Rabiz music is mostly about love or partying called "kef" but also about love to family or Armenia.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Aram Asatryan and Tata Simonyan became a household item in Armenian households all around the world. In 2010, Tata had a successful concert in Las Vegas's Wynn casino.

The musical language of the rabiz, being a blend of several musical traditions (primarily Armenian national, ashug. [bard-style] and Eastern in the style of the makam [classical court music]), is marked by delicate Eastern harmony and an abundance of melisinas, which allow the musician to achieve the desired effect by purely musical means.[9]


Among the rock bands of the old generation were the "Apostles" of Arthur Meschian,[10] "Vostan Hayots", "Ayas" and Arevatsaq. Interest in young rock bands as Sard, Bambir 2 is increasing, especially after videos for their new songs were shown on local television. Some groups such as Road Movie, Dogma remain in underground, playing concerts in rock clubs.

One of the most popular

  • Armenian Music and Video
  • Video of Shoghaken Ensemble
  • Armenian fiddle music


  • (French) Audio clip: traditional Armenian music. Musée d'Ethnographie de Genève. Accessed November 25, 2010.
  • Free high quality Armenian Pop Music Radio Station
  • Armenian Celebrity News & Exclusive Interviews
  • Armenian Music Internet Television
  • Armenian Music Video
  • Armenian Music Radio
  • Free Armenian Music Radio Stream
  • Armenya Portal to Armenian Music Websites
  • Armenian Radio Stver
  • Armenian Spiritual Music 5th–13th centuries for listening, text in Russian
  • Armenian Music Band

External links

  • Hagopian, Harold. "The Sorrowful Sound". 2000. In Broughton, Simon and Ellingham, Mark with McConnachie, James and Duane, Orla (Ed.), World Music, Vol. 1: Africa, Europe and the Middle East, pp 332–337. Rough Guides Ltd, Penguin Books. ISBN 1-85828-636-0
  1. ^ "Articles of Komitas about church music". Retrieved 2012-09-28. 
  2. ^ "VANARMENYA: Tebi Moush-Sasoun". CD Baby. Retrieved 2012-09-28. 
  3. ^ The Suni Project: Music Preservation
  4. ^ """Shoghaken Ensemble history on "Road To Armeania. Retrieved 2012-09-28. 
  5. ^ "Sharakan and Shoghaken" (in Deutsch). Retrieved 2012-09-28. 
  6. ^ "". Retrieved 2012-09-28. 
  7. ^ Vahram Sargsyan at Classical Connect
  8. ^ "The Rabiz Phenomenon Revisited – Notes From Hairenik | An Armenian Blog". Retrieved 2012-09-28. 
  9. ^ Soviet anthropology and archeology: Volume 29. International Arts and Sciences Press. 1990. p. 41. 
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ blog: MTV Beautified again
  12. ^ The Beautified Project
  13. ^ "". Retrieved 2012-09-28. 


See also

Fresno, California by Ruben J. Baboyan on April 16, 1939 in a cappella; performed California Gold: Northern California Folk Music from the Thirties Collection There is a large number of musicians of Armenian descent or origin but living (or born) outside of Armenia. Some of them are famous all over the world. In France Armenian descent artist

Armenian musicians from the Diaspora

Hip-Hop music in Armenia is gradually having notoriety amongst the youth. One of the notable bands was Hay Tgheq (Հայ տղեք) founded in 2001. Later band members Misho and HT Hayko started their own solo careers. One notable rapper in the United States is R-Mean from Glendale, California. R-Mean gained popularity amongst the Armenian Community with the song Open Wounds which commemorates the Armenian Genocide and started a movement "Open Wounds 1915". The song was recently released with a new video and gained over 260.000 views on YouTube alone. R-Mean has also made songs with multiplatinum rapper Game and Slaughterhouse members Crooked I and Joe Budden. Other Hip-Hop groups were formed in Germany such as Armenios, which was founded in Germany by A-Shot, ArmoX & 15Volt, and Super Sako in the United States.



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