The etchnic culture of Azerbaijan
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Sounding of instrument

N.Rahmanov. Devachi,2000

The zurna, an instrument with a strong, high tone, is widespread in Azerbaijan.

It occupies an important place in Azerbaijan's cultural life. The name "zurna" is thought to have come from the word "surnay", translated as "sur" (a large banquet) and "nay" (cane or reed). Many types of zurna were widespread in the Middle East and Caucasus. Four types of zurna made of deer horn were found during the archeological excavations at one of the ancient settlements in Mingachevir. According to researchers, these instruments date back 3,000 years.9

The zurna is used mainly during national holidays for performing folk music in the open air. There were at least six types of zurna: "gara zurna" (black zurna), "gaba zurna", "arabi zurna" (Arabian zurna), "jura zurna" (small zurna), "ajami zurna" (zurna of ajams) and "shahabi zurna".

The zurna is usually made of apricot, walnut or mulberry wood. The diameter at the top of the instrument is 20 mm; at the lower part of the instrument, it is 60 mm. The length of the zurna is 302-317 mm. There are seven apertures on the front side of the instrument.

The State Museum
of Azerbaijani
Musical Culture

The end of the instrument has a plug ("masha") that is 120 mm long. It is made of wild willow, walnut or apricot wood. The purpose of the plug is to regulate the tuning of the instrument.. The mouthpiece is 7-10 mm long and made of cane. The player produces sound from the instrument by inhaling air and breathing it out through the mouthpiece.
A round bobbin is attached to the round board in the middle of the pivot. The bobbin functions as a kind of support for the lips. The air passes through the mouthpiece, pivot and plug and enters into the body of the instrument. The player plays the zurna by opening and closing the apertures with his fingers.

The range of the zurna goes from the "ti" flat of the small octave to the "do" of the third octave. Depending on the mastery of the performer, the range can be expanded by a few notes. These keys are identified as "extra" keys.

As a rule, the zurna is included in wind instrument ensembles. As a solo instrument, or in ensembles or orchestras, the zurna is used for performing some dance melodies such as the "jangi" and other musical patterns. Uzeyir Hajibeyov included the zurna in the symphonic orchestra for his opera "Koroghlu".


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