All Types of Bagpipes Explained

Hittite carvings are the oldest records of the bagpipes. It was a civilization in 1000BC.

There are many bagpipes versions in different parts of the world.

We have all types of bagpipes explained in this article to help you understand the significance of this musical instrument.

How Many Different Types of Bagpipes Are There?

There are 115 types of bagpipes around the world. Many countries have invented different versions of bagpipes because of the availability of specific materials and local traditions.

A bag to hold air, a pipe to produce sound, and an air source pipe are part of all the bagpipes.

Northern Europe

Ireland

  • Pastoral pipes: It was an old model of the Uilleann bagpipes. It was different due to the un-keyed chanter and keyed drone. It is hard to find the origin of these bagpipes.
  • Uilleann pipes: It is a bellows-blown bagpipe. It is also known as the union pipes. It is the most famous type in Ireland. You will get these bagpipes with three regulators, three drones, and a 2-octave chanter.
  • Great Irish Warpipes: These are the first bagpipes used in the war by Henry the eighth. It was introduced in 1206. It was different because it only had one tenor drone.
  • Brian Boru Bagpipes: These are the specialized bagpipes because of the keyed chanter. It allowed a better tone range as three drones are part of this equipment. The latest bagpipes produce bass from the third chanter. The third drone in these bagpipes makes a tone between the bass and tenor.

Scotland

  • Great Highland Bagpipes: It is the pride of Scotland and the best bagpipes in the world. It became famous because of the British military. It produces a louder sound than most other bagpipes.
  • Zetland pipes: Most people believe that these bagpipes were brought to Scotland by the Vikings. There is no proof for this claim.
  • Pastoral pipes: These are the same as the pastoral pipes of Ireland. Most people believe that the latest bagpipes originated from this design.
  • Scottish small pipes: People made this instrument from the details found in the history books.
  • Border pipes: These are small bagpipes with a loud sound. These are also known as the Lowland bagpipes. Technicians make them with the same material as high-land pipes.

England and Wales

  • English bagpipes: These are old bagpipes that come in the category of small pipes. Most of these bagpipes were not available today. Experts made them from the design references.
  • Northumbrian smallpipes: It has a closed-end chanter and an unbroken tradition.
  • Border pipes: These bagpipes are the same design as the Lowland pipes of Scotland.
  • Cornish bagpipes: These double-chanter bagpipes are available only in the history books.
  • Lancashire bagpipes: It is also part of the history book. It was famous among travelers.
  • Lincolnshire bagpipes: It was also a bagpipes with one drone.
  • Yorkshire bagpipes: The description of these bagpipes appeared in some old books.
  • Pastoral pipes: These were available in most areas of Britain as modern design is based on these bagpipes.

Finland

  • Sakkipilli: It is an old bagpipe from Finland. It is not available today.
  • Pilai: It is also a bagpipe from Finland. The design is available in history books only.

Estonia

  • Torupill: It was available in Estonia. It only had one chanter and three drones.

Latvia

  • Dudas: It was available in Latvia in the past. It had one chanter and one drone.

Lithuania

  • Dudmaisis: It was a bagpipe with one drone and one chanter. It is the same as the other bagpipes in the neighboring countries.

Sweden

  • Sackpipa: People in Sweden use the same word for the bagpipes today. The structure had one bag. The chanter, drone, and blowing pipe were on the top of the bag.

Southern Europe

Spain and Portugal

  • Gaita: It is the Spanish name for the bagpipes. Many countries use this term for bagpipes as the design resembles the bagpipes of Scotland. It has one conical chanter, one bowing pipe, and one drone.
  • Gaita Galician: Most people know these bagpipes because of the famous melodies of the Galacian bagpipers.
  • Gatia transmontana: It is the Portugal version of the Gaita astruriana.
  • Gaita asturiana: It is famous for the high capacity chromatic notes.
  • Gaita de boto: It is a peculiar musical instrument because of the drone’s exact location and pipes.
  • Gaita-de-fole Coimbra: It is bagpipe with a peculiar design from the center Portugal.
  • Xerrmies: People make them by combining the drum, flabiol, and bagpipes.

Italy

  • Ciaramella: It is the widely used name for the Italian bagpipes. People of Italy also call them Zampogna. It has a special arrangement for the double chanter. You can find these bagpipes with zero to three drones.
  • Piva: These bagpipes have double reeds in one drone. It also has one chanter. You will find these bagpipes near the border area of Italy and Switzerland.
  • Musa: This musical instrument is famous near the areas of Genova.
  • Baghet: These bagpipes also have one drone with a double chanter. The design also resembles the Piva. You can find these in the Veneto area.
  • Surdelina: These bagpipes have keys on the drones and the chanters. It uses bellows-blown pipes to produce sound from the double chanter.

Malta

  • Zaqq: These are one of the few bagpipes without the drones. It has a double chanter. You will also have one reed in it. Most people in Malta know these bagpipes.
  • Qrajna: If you are looking for the smallpipes of Malta, it is a perfect product.

Greece

People in ancient Greece called the bagpipes by the name of Askavlos. If you translate using the ancient Greece language, you will get the meaning of wineskin.

  • Askomandoura: People of Crete used these bagpipes. These bagpipes have double chanter.
  • Tsampouna: This bagpipe is different than most others as it has two chanters with specific numbers of holes. You will get five openings on one chanter as there is an odd number of them on the other chanter. Most places use bagpipes with three-hole chanters.
  • Gaida: You will get a long drone with single chanter bagpipes in Greece. These are known as Gaida. Most Gaida has different sounds in different places in Greece.
  • Tulum: Pontic Greeks used to play these drones traditionally as these are double chanter bagpipes.

North Macedonia

Macedonia is famous for the two-chanter bagpipes.

People play them with two sounds.

The sounds depend on the number of drones.

Some areas of Macedonia use bagpipes with three drones.

Some of them use four drones.

The people of Macedonia used the entire hide of the goat to make these bagpipes.

The first version of bagpipes is famous in most areas.

It has blowpipes on the front legs.

The back legs of the goat hide have drones and chanters.

Radovic is the area with a peculiar bagpipe usage.

They place the drones in the head area of the goatskin.

The chanter and blowpipes in the legs.

If they needed more drones, they fixed them between the legs.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Dudy: It is a bagpipe with a round drone with curves at the end.
  • Cimpoi: It is the bagpipes of Romania. It comes with a single and double chanter.
  • Magyar duda: People made them with two chanters. One chanter was of wood, and the other was of bone. Some versions have bass drones.

Poland

Poland also uses the same name for the bagpipes as other parts of central Europe. It had three versions. Dudy, Koziol and Sierszenki.

The Balkans

  • Kaba gaida: It has a single drone with a low pitch.
  • Gaida: Balkans used similar words for the bagpipes with one drone and one chanter.
  • Istarski mih: These bagpipes have no drones. The sound is due to double chanters.

Belarus

  • Duda: It is the name of the bagpipes of Belarus.

Russia

  • Volynka: It is the name of the Russian bagpipes.

Finno-Ugric Russia

  • Shyuvr: These bagpipes were famous among the Mari people.
  • Puvama: Mordvin people used these bagpipes.

Turkic Russia

  • Shapar: Volga region people used these bagpipes.

Ukraine

People of Ukraine also call the bagpipes Duda.

Western Europe

France

  • Musette: It is the small pipe of the french people. It had drones and chanter combined into one piece.
  • Biniou: When the people of France play highland bagpipes, they call them Biniou.
  • Boha: It uses one piece of wood to carve out the drones and chanters.
  • Samponha: It is the double chanter bagpipes.

Germany

  • Dudelsack: It is the german bagpipe. It has two drones and one chanter.
  • Kozol: These are bagpipes with inclined drone pipes.

The Low Countries

  • Dodedelzak: These are the bagpipes of the Netherlands.
  • Muchosa: People of Balguim play these bagpipes.

Switzerland

  • Sackpfeife: People of Switzerland used these bagpipes to tell tales. It has one chanter with a double reed. You will also get two drones in it.

Austria

  • Bock: These bagpipes have a goatskin airbag. There was only one drone and chanter in it.

Southwest Asia

Turkey

  • Dankiyo: It came to turkey from the Greek people. Dankiyo is the other name of the bagpipes for the greek people.
  • Guda: These are the bagpipes without the drone pipes. There are two chanters in it.

Armenia

  • Parkapzuk: People of Armenia play these bagpipes. It has a unique design due to the horn-shaped airbag.

Azerbaijan

  • Tulum: Some people of Armenia and most of Azerbaijan use these bagpipes. It is limited to some places of the country these days.

Georgia

  • Gudastviri: People of Georgia play these bagpipes. It has a different design as the airbag has a tip that looks like a horn.

Iran

  • Ney anban: It is part of Iran culture. There are no drones in these bagpipes.

Arab states of the Persian Gulf

  • Habban: It originated in Kuwait. People of Kuwait now play the Scottish bagpipes. Many types of bagpipes are named the same way there.
  • Jibra: It came to the Arab states from Iran. It has do not have any drones. All the melodies are from two chanters.

North Africa

Egypt

  • Zummarah-bi-soan: It does not look like the bagpipe because the bag is small. It has two chanters.

Libya

  • Zukra: People of Libya make these bagpipes from the cowhide. It has a different design as two horns are attached to these bagpipes.

Tunisia

  • Mizwad: These are the bagpipes with the same design as Libya.

Algeria

  • Tadghtita: It is one of the most famous bagpipes of Algeria.

South Asia

India

  • Mashak: It is also called Mushak pipes. It is famous in the northern parts of India.
  • Sruti upange: These are famous in some states of India. These bagpipes produce loud sounds from the drones.

Non-traditional bagpipes

  • Electronic bagpipes: These are not the traditional bagpipes as there is no bag or pipes in this musical instrument. They use a computer to record the notes on the bagpipes. When you click a button, the speaker will play a note. Musicians use it to make melodies. You can also use it to test the melodies of the bagpipes. You will not get the perfect bagpipes experience from these.
  • Electric bagpipes: You can get electric bagpipes if you feel that your bagpipes do not produce a loud sound. It has a microphone to collect the sound from the bagpipes. It will use an amplifier to boost the volume. This sound is emitted through a speaker to produce a louder sound. You can get these bagpipes in different shapes. Manufacturers try to give a modern look to these bagpipes. You have to spend more money to buy these bagpipes as they are more expensive than the traditional bagpipes.

Related Article: How Much Do Bagpipes Cost?

What Is the Difference between Irish Bagpipes and Scottish Bagpipes?

There are two drones in the Irish bagpipes, while the Scottish bagpipes have three drones. There are many other differences between the Scottish and Irish bagpipes.

The Scottish bagpipes are available easily. Due to ease of availability, the price is lower than the Irish bagpipes. You may have to spend almost 1000 dollars to get simple Scottish bagpipes.

If you want to get an Irish bagpipe of the same quality, you may have to spend six thousand dollars. The student version of these bagpipes has a lower price.

Scottish bagpipes have only four parts. This bagpipe is made of an airbag, blowing pipe, chanter, and drone pipes.

The Irish bagpipes have five pieces. It has a blowing pump, chanter, airbag, drone pipes, and regulator pipes.

The regulator pipes can help the piper play extra notes as he can use his wrist to block the holes in the regulator pipes.

The regulators have the same function as the chanters.

The chanter has an opening at the bottom that allows air to escape.

The regulators do not have such a hole.

The regulators can make the sound better.

When you check the octave of the Scottish bagpipes, they are available in 1 + 1 form. The octave of the Irish bagpipes is unique as they are available in the form of 2.

The Scottish bagpipes have limited scales as you can only play using the Mixolydian scales. The Irish bagpipes allow you to use different scales.

The reason for the popularity of the Scottish bagpipes is their loud sound, as you can hear these bagpipes from 16 miles away.

The Irish bagpipes are different as they produce sweet sounds.

Most people play the bagpipes at the ceremonies.

They do not want to make a soft sound.

These people want everyone to hear the sound of bagpipes.

The structure of the Irish bagpipes allows you to play them when you are sitting.

When you play the Irish bagpipes standing, it will be uncomfortable.

The British armies used to walk with the bagpipes.

They wanted a design to help them walk with the bagpipes during the battles.

Scottish bagpipes solved this problem because you can carry them while playing.

It is easy to pick because it is lighter than the Irish bagpipes.

The air supply mechanism of these bagpipes is different.

The Irish bagpipes use a special pump to push the air into the drones and chanters to make a sound.

Scottish bagpipes take the air from the blowing pipe.

It is easier to control the air when blowing it from your mouth.

There is a detailed process to manufacture the Scottish bagpipes in bulk quantities.

There is no process to manufacture the Irish bagpipes in bulk quantities.

You need an expert bagpiper maker to hand-craft the Irish bagpipes.

It can take many days to produce one Irish bagpipe.

It is another reason for the high price of these bagpipes.

There is no volume control option on any of these bagpipes.

If you play the Scottish bagpipes indoors, it can irritate the audience due to the loud sounds.

It is better to play it outside where people can admire your melody from miles away.

You should play the Irish bagpipes indoors because of their sweet sound.

Related Article: How to Make Bagpipes Out of a Rubber Glove?

What Are Small Bagpipes Called?

Small bagpipes are also known as Hummelchen. This name was common in many parts of the world in the past.

Many experts took the design ideas from the ancient smallpipes to construct the latest version.

Colin Ross is a famous name in this field.

The small Scottish pipes are different from the other version of the smallpipes worldwide.

You can use the same technique to play the highland bagpipes and small Scottish bagpipes.

The Scottish bagpipes use the blower-blown pipes because it provides more stability.

The other smallpipes do not have this facility.

The small pipe chanters are unkeyed.

You can also find some custom designs on the market where they added keys on the chanter.

Related Article: Why Are Bagpipes Played at Military Funerals?

What’s the Difference between Bagpipes and Uilleann Pipes?

The Uillean pipes receive the air supply from the push mechanism under the elbow. The bagpipes have a blowpipe to supply air to the airbag. Uilleann pipes do not need blowpipes as there is no need to push the air through your mouth. You cannot play the bagpipe when you do not have a blowpipe.

There are many other differences between the bagpipes and Uilleann pipes.

It is easy to walk when you play bagpipes.

It does not have a heavy blowing mechanism.

You do not need to press your elbow many times to play the bagpipes.

It is easy to walk when you are playing bagpipes.

You cannot walk when playing the Uilleann pipes.

These pipes require more focus on your elbow as you need to push the elbow to supply air.

It is hard to walk when you use force on the elbow.

The blowing mechanism of the Uilleann pipes is also heavy.

It is hard to carry them due to their heavy weight.

A person with a breathing problem can play the Uilleann pipes because there is no need to blow the air from your lungs.

You only need to practice using the elbow force.

Playing bagpipes is hard for your lungs.

You need to blow air after every few seconds to keep the airbag full.

If you have weak lungs, you cannot play the bagpipes.

Most pipers practice many years to master the air blowing techniques.

It allows them to play the bagpipe melody without pause.

The bagpipe’s melodies do not pause as you need to play the notes from the start to the end without delay.

It is hard to play a loud sound from the Uilleann pipes because the blowing mechanism does not produce high-pressure air.

The best way to make high-pressure air is by using your lungs.

You can use the air from your lungs to add pressure to the bagpipes.

This pressure is enough to make a loud sound.

Most Uillean pipes play soft music that is suitable for the indoors.

Bagpipes are better for making loud sounds.

If you want to practice the chanter, you can use the Uilleann pipe.

You need to find a place far from people to practice the bagpipes as loud sounds can irritate people during the practice.

Uilleann pipes are more expensive than bagpipes because the blowing mechanism is expensive to manufacture.

Experts need to spend a long time making this mechanism.

There is no complicated mechanism in bagpipes.

It is cheaper to produce bagpipes.

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