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Bagpipes

bagpipesA Reed instrument employing a bag to hold wind before it is released into tune-making pipes. The tune-making pipes are either chanters (on which a Melody is played in the hands of the skillful) or Drones which do just that. The drone is intended as an accompaniment to the melody. Not all bagpipes have drones, and many have multiple chanters.
The wind always emerges via chanter and a drone or drones, unless there is a leak. The method of getting wind in provides us with different types. In some types air is blown in from the mouth and in others it is pumped in by bellows.
Bagpipes are played in almost every country in Europe as well as most of north Africa and western Asia. Most countries have dozens of different types of bagpipes which differ in size, reed set-up, number and position of chanters and drones (if any), bag material, all features of construction and playing technique.
Scottish, Northumbrian, Breton and others are mouth blown pipes. Irish (Uilleann or Union) are bellows blown, as are the Cabrette of the Auvergne.

Pictured: Swedish Bagpipes - mouth blown with single chanter and drone.

Article Contributed by: Banjolin


In some countries in central Europe, some of the traditional bagpipes died out in tradition but most have been revived with research by a few devoted historical musicians and now are again widely played, however the traditional styling is subject to interpretation. Bagpipe traditions are strongest in Scotland and Bulgaria where they are considered the national instrument. Other countries with strong continuous bagpipe traditions include England (Northumbria), Ireland, France, Spain, Italy, Macedonia, Croatia, Bosnia, Poland, Czech republic, Greece, Romania, Serbia, Turkey, Algeria, Ukraine and Armenia.

Article Contributed by: MG