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The Shvi (Armenian: Շվի) (pronounced sh-vee) which means whistle in Armenian, is a woodwind instrument with a libium mouth piece. Commonly made of wood (mostly apricot) or bamboo and up to 12 inches in length, it typically has a range of an octave and a-half. The Tav Shvi is made from apricot wood, it is up to 18 inches long, and is tuned 1/4 lower producing a more lyrical and intimate sound.

The shvi is up to 12 inches in length and is made of reed, the bark of willows, or walnut wood. It has 8 holes on the front, 7 of which are used while playing, and 1 thumbhole. One octave is obtained by blowing normally into the shvi and a second octave is attained by blowing with slightly more force. The lower octave has a timbre similar to a recorder whereas the higher octave sounds similar to a piccolo or flute.

Typically, most Armenian duduk or zurna players learn the shvi before moving on to either instrument.


  • Ararat Petrossian - "Melody of Sunik", Aya Sofia Records, 1995.
  • Nor Dar - "Opus of the Lizard", Libra Music, 1997.
  • Various Artists - "Kalaschjan - Rural and Urban Traditional Music from Armenia", Weltmusic, 1992.
  • Soviet Music and Society Under Lenin and Stalin By Neil Edmunds

See also

External Links

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