Gaguik Mouradian

The artist-musician Gaguik Mouradian was born in Erevan, Armenia, in 1954. He fell in love with the kamancha (an instrument with four steelsides) when he saw the film about the 18th century troubadour Sayat Nova. He started studying music when he was very young at the Komitas Conservatory of Armenia, under the master Hratchik Avedikian, with classes in his chosen instrument, the kamancha, as well as classes that are more conventional in classical music. Later he studied kamancha in greater depth to perfect his art, and then became a teacher at the Conservatory.

As a teacher of the Armenian kamancha, Gaguik Mouradian has taught several traditional music ensembles, notably the Goussan Ensemble composed of traditional instruments such as the kamancha, the tar (a long-necked lute), the qanun (a plucked zither), the santur (zither with strings that are struck with the aid of small sticks), the duduk (a cylindrical oboe with a double reed), the dhol or daf (percussion instruments) and a singer, who can be either male or female.


Kamancha (Persian: کمانچه‎) is a Persian bowed string instrument related to the bowed rebab, the historical ancestor of the kamancheh and also to the bowed lira of the Byzantine Empire, ancestor of the European violin family. The strings are played with a variable-tension bow: the word “kamancheh” means “little bow” in Persian. It is widely used in the classical music of Iran, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kurdistan Regions with slight variations in the structure of the instrument.

Traditionally kamanchehs had three silk strings, but modern ones have four metal ones. Kamanchehs may have highly ornate inlays and fancy carved ivory tuning pegs. The body has a long upper neck and a lower bowl-shaped resonating chamber made from a gourd or wood, usually covered with a membrane, made from the skin of a lamb, goat or sometimes fish, on which the bridge is set.