Coming from folk music, the roots of Armenian specialized music reach millenia. The music of ancient times was characterized by the elements and significance of that phase of human history; music was largerly ritual, emotional and psychological, closely linked to folklore. Specialized song-music evidenced by preserved stone carvings, makes new progress in military rituals in Armenia from the middle of the second millennium. The first millenium BC is full of rapid rise.Its beginnings refer to a bugle found near Lake Sevan. Various ritual scenes, including ‘sounding’, dancing sences depicted in the pictograms of the Armenian Highland, give an idea of the level and mentality of social development specific to the time being observed. Already in 3th millenium BC, the qualitative peculiarity of Armenian music was formed: pandir, drum, reed,lyre and tube. There are information about rituals of Armenian music in the hittite cuneiform of the 14th century BC.
Prominent works of art in 11-9 centuries BC were symbolic images connected with real and imaginatively highly stylizedanimals, birds, humans, geometrical, sun, sky luminaries, as well as hunting, fertility and cosmic scenes with intricate myths. They are remarkable monuments of ancient art of the first millennium BC.
In the 9th century BC through the kingdom of Ararat (Urartu), Armenians had been communicating with Assyrian-Babelonyan culture for nearly three centuries. In the Red Hill were found a pair of bronze cymbals dating from the 7th century BC, which suggested that Middle Eastern musical instruments were also familiar to civilization. Specialized music developed in cult and secular ways during the reign of the Ararat kingdom. The first was developed in pagan temples through the efforts of specially trained priests. The second was originated and flourished with the revelation of novelists and gusans. These achievements werestrengthened during the reign of Yervanduni.
After the fall of the Ararat kingdom, Armenians had also been communicating with the culture of Achaemenid Iran for two centuries. Specialized singing in the field of music also hadsignificant results in the process of rapprochement for the successful formation of the Armenian people. The mourning, in particular, of the burial ritual developed, in which the epic beginning was gradually gaining considerable weight. One of the oldest forms of Armenian music and poetry was originated, which was a unique poem recounted and singing in between, and during its development collected materials from conversations and myths about early Armenian history and more about the original religion. Of these, the myths about Hayk and Bell, Aram, Ara Beauty and Shamiram, Vahagn the dragon andTorq Angex were retold by Movses Khorenaci, calling them 《conversation》, 《song》and 《myth》 or 《gusan》.
In the IV-III centuries BC their decisive stage entered not only the processes of the Armenian people’s formation and the formation of the Armenian language as a popular language, but also the process of the creation of a qualitatively distinctive originality of the Armenian music according to the standards of the whole highland. The oldest layers of the Armenian epic are also found, which date back to the VI-IV century BC, at times, the relations between the Armenians and the Mares.
Armenian culture, filled with ancient Eastern origins of III century BC, is gradually becoming closer to Helleniccivilization. This centenary refers to the bone svirel discoveryfrom Garni’s ancient story, which already has 5 finger-holes. Atfirst the Hellenic civilization is mostly associated with the elite, but over time the entire local Armenian culture, influencing theHellenic culture prevalent here and influenced by it, regularlyrises to the level of development, that in science isconventionally called “Hellenistic”. The creation, stabilizationand empowerment of a United Kingdom of Greater Armeniagreatly contributes to this.
The Armenian culture also reaches its climax with the reign ofTigran the Great and Artavazd II. Significant changes are beingmade in the field of music. Armenian military and ritual songs, and especially wedding songs where the lyrical antecedent playsa significant role over time, are emerging. The art of thenovelists, gusans who are fully aware of their professional andsocial issues is widely filled with the frank impressions of thehistorical feats of the Armenian monarchs and the Armenian army. Epic poetry goes through a significant development path. These works have been performed by all means of ancientantique art, through reciting and singing, dance, mimicry,withthe accompaniment of string instrument Bandura.
The combination of musical instruments used in HellenisticArmenia has been rich. In addition to the above, drum, wind andstringed instruments were used. One of the results of thestabilization of the powerful Armenian is the flourishing of theHellenistic high theater, where the theatrical song-musiceducators were brought up. The specialized music in HellenisticArmenia was represented by classes of novelists, gusans andraptors, cathedral singers (soloists prisets, priestess andparticipants in singing groups) as well as a special class oftheatrical musicians. The first conscious steps in HellenisticArmenia were made through the Armenian musical andaesthetic thought.
Early Christian Music
The Armenian Christian Church takes control of Armenian cultural life, including music. Secular art continues to evolve. Being separated from the peasantry, the folk songs and dances of the Armenian medieval city show a different quality.
Within the secular song-music, the gusans remain the onlyrepresentatives of specialized art. Due to their efforts, significantadvances are being made in the field of novelism. Anethnographic novel known as the “Persian War” is created anddeveloped; the great novel similar to it and more localized is”Taron War”, in which the artist tells of the centuries-oldstruggle between Arshakunyats Armenia and Sassanian Persiaand praises the heroic deeds of the Mamikonians. Sound – instrumental gusan music improves. Gusan art which includesinvestments, many vital elements from folklore and folk songs, sound- instrumental art of ancient novelists and goghtan singers, enriching with the artistic achievements of neighboring (eastern) countries of Medieval Armenia, with its prominence goesbeyond the borders of Armenia in the VI-VII centuries.