Armenian Records/ Transcription

Due to the large numbers of Armenians who relocated to the United States during the Armenian diaspora, there seem to be more Armenian Folk records than Georgian or Azerbaijani available in used record bins. I found this recording for among the world music LPs at the Easy Street Records in West Seattle. It was $3. Many of the tracks sound like Soviet classical/folk hybrids in which the powers that be had musicians record old folk songs in a “classical” style, many times with western instrumentation as opposed to using folk instruments. The song Yarimo is my favorite on the LP, mixing in a choral arrangement with some folk instruments and a lengthy compound time signature.

I did a little research and found a vocal Jazz/scat version of the same tune: I have to say I favor the LP version but its interesting to listen to them back to back and hear how the melody can still be retained in a different time signature/genre/era etc.  I did a little transcription of the theme (from the LP) and am posting it along with some analysis for any music theory/ethnomusicology geeks who are interested.


Yarimo is played in the Key of D harmonic/natural minor with the occasional bouts of modal mixture and/or the incorporation of the parallel major. It is in the compound meter of 3/8 + 2/8 + 2/8 + 2/8 +2/8 +2/8 + 3/8.

It starts by presenting each of the sections instrumentally in this form: AABBCCAA

And then the chorus comes in for these sections: BBCCAA.

At 1:41 the song shifts to D major and there is a short duduk solo which transitions back into the instrumental A section and then repeats the BBCCAA form with the chorus up until the end. 

I’ll be posting some Azerbaijani Mugam music and Georgian polyphonic singing pretty soon.

– Ben

1 Comment

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One response to “Armenian Records/ Transcription

  1. Suren

    Very cool. Thank you. There is a lot of Armenian-American fold records in the kef-time era 1950-70’s even until now. The oud ustas George Mgrdichian, John Berberian, Richard Hagopian, John Bilizikjian have many records but they are not simply Armenian bc they are playing for the middle eastern market. Only Onnik Dinkjian sings strictly Armenian music out of this generation.

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