FAQ: Why do Arabs play Scottish Highland pipes? Answer: for the same reason that locals everywhere in the former British Empire play them; the Scottish regiments with their marching music made an indelible impression on the natives, the warlike sound of the Highland pipes in many cases similar to their own double-reeded pipe, they adopted the Scottish instrument for themselves.
The world's most evolved bagpipes, the Irish uilleann pipes, are bellows blown with seven or eight separate pipes: chanter, three drones and three or four regulators or
pipes. The chanter has an
range of nearly two octaves and may be fitted with keys making
it fully chromatic.
The zampogna is from southern Italy and Sicily. The world's only extant polyphonic bagpipe (apart from its single-reeded variant surdulina), it has two chanters, one for each hand. The drone pipe is pitched on the fifth of the scale, midway between treble and bass chanters. It can be operated by the thumb to produce two or more notes to create three-part harmony in combination with the two chanters.
The gaida or gajda is from Macedonia, Thrace and Epirus, areas which form part of Greece, Bulgaria, former Yugoslavia and Albania. It has a single reeded chanter and one drone. The chanter features a small upper finger hole which allows a modified chromaticism by raising the pitch of certain lower notes by a semitone. The bag is traditionally made from the whole skin of a goat.
The tulum is from the Greek area of northern Turkey known as Pontos. This droneless proto-bagpipe is found in various forms everywhere from Algeria to Afghanistan. The sound is identical to that of the mijwiz (see reeded pipes on this site) though the playing style varies - compare tulum and mezoued performances, above right (mp3s).The photo shows me doing the Pontic lying-on-the-floor-while-playing-the-tulum trick at a performance with the Lyra Dancers, London 2012
Medieval depictions of bagpipers. The bagpipe exists in various forms as a national instrument in every country in Europe and in many countries of the middle East and central Asia.
Scottish regimental piper, WWI
Saudi Arab playing Scottish Highland pipes
Gulf Arab playing indigenous habban
North African mezoued
All performances/arrangements by Dirk Campbell. See foot of page for details of tunes
Breton veuze, Czech dudy, Italian zampogna
Czech dudy, Italian surdulina, Greek laouto
Tune names and performance details
Uilleann pipes: jig set 'The Girl in the Big House/Paddy O Rafferty' (traditional); reel set 'The Old Bush/An Bhean Tinceara' (traditional); slow air 'Cití na gCumann' (traditional, string arrangement by Dirk Campbell); Gaida: 'Simera eíne Kyriakí' (traditional Greek zonaradiko, with toumbeleki); Zampogna: 'Minuetto' (Wilton)/'Canario' (von der Hofe); Tulum: 'Tik' (traditional Greek Pontic dance); Mezoued: 'Chaabi' (Campbell, with frame drums); Highland pipes: reel 'The Old Man of Glengarry' (traditional); Veuze: 'Stones of Plouhinec' (Campbell, with dudy and zampogna); Dudy: 'Do Your Dudy' (Campbell, with laouto and surdulina)