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Bagpipes

Spanish bagpipes or Gaita Gallicia

The Galician gaita has a conical chanter and a bass drone (ronco) with a second octave. It may have one or two additional drones playing the tonic and dominant notes. Three keys are traditional: D (gaita grileira, lit. "cricket bagpipe"), C, and Bb. Galician pipe bands playing these instruments have become popular in recent years.The playing of close harmony (thirds and sixths) with two gaitas of the same key is a typical Galician gaita style. The term gaita may refer to a variety of different pipes, shawms, recorders, flutes and clarinets in different areas of Spain and Portugal.

The instrument was common and popular by the 15th century, followed by a decline until the 19th century renaissance of the instrument. The early 20th century saw another decline. Then, beginning in around the 1970s, a roots revival heralded another upsurge in popularity, popularised in no slight degree by the well loved Carlos Nunes.
Traditional use of the pipes include both solo performances or with a snare-drum known as tamboril (a wooden natural-skinned drum with gut snares), and the bombo, a bass drum.
Galician bagpipes come in three main varieties, though there are exceptions and unique instruments. These include the tumbal (B-flat), grileira (D) and redonda (C).

The player inflates the bag, often made of rubber, using his mouth through a tube fitted with a non-return valve. Air is driven into the chanter (Galician: punteiro) with the left arm controlling the pressure inside the bag. The chanter has a double reed similar to a shawm or oboe, and a conical bore with seven finger-holes on the front. The bass drone (ronco or roncon) is situated on the player's left shoulder and is pitched two octaves below the key note of the chanter; it has a single reed. Some bagpipes have up to two more drones, including the ronquillo or ronquilla, which sticks out from the bag and plays an octave above the ronco, or the smaller chilln. These two extra drones are located next to the right arm of the player.

The finger-holes include three for the left hand and four for the right, as well as one at the back for the left thumb. The chanter's tonic is played with the top six holes and the thumb hole covered by fingers. Starting at the bottom and (in the Galician fingering pattern) progressively opening holes creates the diatonic scale. Using techniques like cross-fingering and half-holding, the chromatic scale can be created. With extra pressure on the bag, the reed can be played in a second octave, thus giving range of an octave and a half from tonic to top note. It is also possible to close the tone hole with the little finger of the right hand, thus creating a semitone below the tonic.

Mike's set are made from boxwood with the traditional bag in the national colours of red and yellow.

Flemish Bagpipes

Flemish Bagpipes
The bagpipes depicted here are Bob's Flemish bagpipes used by REBEC in their louder sets of rennaissance dance tunes to contrast with Bob's songs. The drones are tied into a common stock as opposed to the Spanish and Highland pipes where the dromnes are tied into individual stocks. The form and size of the instrument varied from area to area, but the principle of chanter, drone(s) and the bag was in most cases common elements. An early engraving of the German "Sackpfeife" (bagpipe) appears in Martin Agricola's Musica instrumentalis deudsch (1529), which shows two drones, probably of different length, probably for different tuning. This form seems to have established itself as the most popular one for a long time and was adopted by the Dutch/Flemish musicians, as it is evident from numerous Dutch and Flemish paintings showing pipers, especially from the 17th century. In Michael Praetorius' Syntagma musicum, II ("Theatrum instrumentorum", 1618-19) we find detailed descriptions and illustrations of various old German bagpipes, of which the Schäferpfeife (shepherd's pipe, called "Sackpfeife" by Agricola and Sebastian Virdung in his Musica getutscht, 1511) was the one most widely spread in the Netherlands as well as over entire northern Europe up to the 18th century. Well-known examples of Dutch and Flemish bagpipes can be observed in Pieter Brueghel the Elder's cheerful pictures of peasants' weddings and dances. Brueghel was probably the first and certainly the most renowned of contemporary genre painters who depicted bagpipers, both in paintings and etchings. His instruments still serve as models for many bagpipe makers today. Bob's pipes are made by Victor Nerrynx and based on the pipes in Breughal's paintings.

Northumbrian Smallpipes

Northumbrian Smallpipes
The Northumbrian smallpipes (also known as the Northumbrian pipes) are bellows-blown bagpipes from the North East of England. In a survey of the bagpipes in the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford University, the organologist Anthony Baines wrote: It is perhaps the most civilized of the bagpipes, making no attempt to go farther than the traditional bagpipe music of melody over drone, but refining this music to the last degree. The instrument consists of one chanter (generally with keys) and usually four drones. The cylindrically-bored chanter has a number of metal keys, most commonly seven, but chanters with a range of over two octaves can be made which require seventeen or more keys, all played with either the right hand thumb or left little finger. There is no overblowing employed to get this two octave range, so the keys are therefore necessary, together with the length of the chanter, for obtaining the two octaves. The Northumbrian smallpipe's chanter having a completely closed end, combined with the unusually tight fingering style (each note is played by lifting only one finger or opening one key) means that traditional Northumbrian piping is staccato in style. Because the bores are so narrow, (typically about 4.3 millimetres for the chanter), the sound is far quieter than most other bagpipes. The pipes depicted here were made by David Burleigh of Morpeth in Northumberland.