Early and medieval Armenian music has reached us through the oral traditions as well as the old Armenians, neumes, which are still not fully deciphered. Today the ancient Armenian music could be heard in the Armenian Liturgy as well as other sacred hymns, chants and melismatic “sharakans”. Most of this music has its source in medieval and even pre-Christian Armenia.

During the Middle Ages Armenian bards and minstrels (gusans) played an important role in keeping the musical tradition and later during the 19th century their songs were recorded on paper.

The father of Armenian music is Komitas Vartabed, who over a period of the last decades of the 19th century and early 20th century collected and annotated thousands of Armenian folk and traditional songs, clearing them from foreign influences. During his studies in Europe he introduced Armenian music in Germany and France to great acclaim and amazement of audiences.

During the Soviet rule Armenian music began its renaissance due to the Armenian composers, such as Armen Tigranian, Alexander Spendiarian and later Aram Khachaturian, Eduard Mirzoyan, Arno Babadjanian and Tigran mansuryan and many others, who put the Armenian music on proper footing on the world stage.

Today music plays an important part in the life of all Armenians, and the country has one of the highest musicians per capita, many of whom could be seen on the world musical stages. Many young Armenian classical musicians such as Chilingirian Quartet (UK), Khachaturian trio (Armenia), cellists Nareg Haghnazarian, Michael haghnazarian and Alexander Chaushian, viola player Kim Kashkashian, violinists Sergey Khachatryan and Hrachya Avanesyan, and pianists Svetlana Navasardyan, Vahan Martirosian, Nareh Arghamanyan, Hayk Melikyan, singer Isabel Bayrakdarian as well as many others perform on the stages all over the world.

Pop and Jazz music is also well liked and performed in Armenia. The most famous Armenian singers in the west is Charles Aznavour and bands such as Armenian Navy Band (Arto Tunjboyajian) and System of a Down (Serge Tankian), Tigran Hamasyan (jazz piano) and others are well known in the west.

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