The bagpipe is a very old instrument, dating back at least 2000 years. Turning to Roman antiquity and the writings of historians describing the life of Emperor Nero (37-68), we find the first reliable written record of the bagpipes. Indeed, although some older allusions could refer to an instrument with an addition, no document describes the instrument clearly before the year 115. It was in this year that the historian Dion Chrysostome (30- 116) wrote in his 71st speech on the Philosopher alluding to the emperor Nero: “it is said that he could paint, sculpt and play the aulos , both by the lips and by adjusting the bag under his armpit “.
- Nero, according to historian Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, was known for his gifts in chariot racing and music. Introduced to it from an early age, he sang and played the lyre. It would seem that the emperor, who did not like competition and who mumbled just before his suicide that the world was going to lose an artist, also performed as a player of wind instruments.
In fact, in 121 Suetonius Tranquillus writes that Nero would have declared that he would have liked to organize games and perform there as a musician by playing several wind instruments, including the utriculus (small addition) (in Vita Neronis, From Vita Caesarum VI). After the emperor’s death, the bagpipe was discreet for a few centuries. In the Middle Ages, it reappeared all over Europe in various forms. Today, the bagpipe is a living instrument in many cultures around the world. Over 150 different instruments have been recorded, many of which are still played today from India to Ireland and from Sweden to Libya. here is the top bagpipe music that you can enjoy now.
How the bagpipes work
The bagpipe is distinguished from other instruments by its air reservoir, also called a bag or pocket. This is filled with air using the musician’s breath and a blowing tube or by a bellows, actuated by one of the musician’s arms. The air in the bag is distributed in the various pipes thanks to the pressure exerted on the bag by the musician’s arm. The bagpipe can have one to eight air outlets, also called “voices” by the organologist Marie-Barabara Le Gonidec. These can be melodic, semi-melodic pipes or drones. Bumblebees have no playing holes and only emit one accompanying note. The melodic pipes are used to play the melody and the semi-melodic pipes have a limited number of playing holes, often used to create harmonic and rhythmic accompaniment.
The classification of the bagpipes over time
According to the various classifications established over time, the bagpipe, like the organ, has always been a separate instrument. It does not fit into any specific category and often causes the addition of specific comments and the creation of separate categories. So are plastic ukulele worth it? The experts can only be sure about it.
This classification is not very precise and it is impossible to automatically deduce that the bagpipes are in the first category. Indeed, in the case of bagpipes the breath is mainly provided by a human and the heights are determined by holes on the melodic pipe.