Bagpipes - Page 1 of 2. Bagpipes are classified as aerophones - reed instruments that utilize an air reservoir. The reservoir allows an uninterrupted stream of air to be directed through the reeds. Their antiquity can be traced throughout Asia, in North Africa and across Europe. Various forms of bagpipes have been attributed to many ancient civilizations. Some historians believe the bagpipes had their origin in Sumaria, while others believe bagpipes were spread to Persia, India, and the Roman Empire by the Celtic peoples. An Athenian dramatist, writing in the fifth century BC, mentioned the bagpipe. The true origin is still cloudy, resulting in limited knowledge of the history and development of the bagpipe.
It has been pointed out that the cloudy history of the bagpipe may be explained in the nature of the pipes themselves. Most importantly, they do not survive the ravages of time. Made of wood and skins the ancient ancestors of the bagpipes have long since gone to dust. The other reason is that the bagpipes have been a commoner’s, or peasant’s instrument. It is unfortunately true that historians tend to dwell on the lifestyle of the rich and famous. The more modern bagpipes, that most of us are familiar with, were actually a war instrument. It was not uncommon for armies to utilize any means at their disposal to instill fear into their enemy. Costumes and loud music were favorite methods of creating fear in the enemy. Some say that the bagpipe was especially suited to this purpose, not just for the sound they create. Blowing a flute or whistle while being attacked can become very difficult when your throat tightens up. The reservoir allowed the piper to play continually, even when breathing may have been difficult.
Over the centuries there have been many styles of bagpipe. Along with the reservoir, or bag, these pipes may have one or two chanters, one or more drones and the mouthpiece. There are reeds in each of the drones and chanters. The chanter has finger holes for playing multiple notes, while the drones' notes are fixed. The various styles of pipes can be divided into two categories. This dichotomy is based on the method used to fill the reservoir. The player can fill the reservoir by blowing with the mouth, as in the traditional Great Highland Bagpipes, or by pumping a bellows, as in the Uilleann pipes.
IMPORTANT NOTICE! Health and sanitary regulations prohibit the exchange or return for credit of any mouth blown instrument.
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