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35 backing. See accompaniment. backstitch. Term borrowed f rom needlework to describe a complex form of piping and flute decoration. bagpipe. A reed instrument on which melody is played on a ‘chanter’, accompanied by one or more drones; air is either provided through a blowing pipe,supplied by the player’s lungs,or by a bellows. All such pipes have a bag reservoir which is squeezed by the player’s elbow to activate and control the chanter sound. history. Invented probably simultaneously in places as diverse as India, China, Italy and Greece, ‘pipes’ of some form have been documented as far back as 1000 bc in Syria, and the Romans used them as an instrument of war. The pipes were either introduced to these islands by them, or earlier, in a rudimentary form, by Celtic culture after 500 bc. All bagpipes produce their tones with what is called a ‘reed’, this being activated by air pressure.The simplest form of reed-pipes have no bag – the Breton ‘bombarde’,Italian ‘ciaramella ’and Sardinian ‘launeddas’.As with bagpipes themselves, the launeddas is blown by circular breathing, a technique in which the player uses the swollen cheeks as an air reservoir to facilitate continuous playing while taking in f resh breath through the nose. air reservoir. The f irst attempt at having an external air reservoir was the ‘bladder pipe’ in thirteenth-century Europe; the pipe was blown via a bladder filled with air f rom the mouth, the elastic contraction–tension of the swollen bag giving the player some respite to take a breath. The idea of a larger bag followed not long after: a stitched-up sheep- or goat-skin held under the arm, and with pressure controlled by the elbow, it gave the player a reserve supply of air and a chance to take a rest from blowing. By the Middle Ages the bagpipe was popular all over Europe. Associated with the shepherd, bagpipes played by country people at weddings were painted by Pieter Breughel; also in the 1500s David Teniers has people dancing to a bagpipe; Hans Holbein the Younger has dancing to both bladder pipe and bagpipe. In the 1549 Complaynt of Scotland the bladder-pipe and bagpipe are described too. The bagpipe became an instrument of the English court from the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries (Henry VIII had five sets) and was the main provider of music for festivals and weddings. In fifteenth-century Scotland, James I was a bagpipe player. bellows. The idea of using bellows in place of the lungs as an air-supply is as old as piping itself. The first organ was constructed in 246 bc in ancient Greece and by ad 228 bellows were being used in organs in Hungary; in ad 826 the first western European organ was built in Aachen, Germany. In first-century Rome, Nero was known for his ability on some form of ‘bag and pipe’. There is no actual literary reference to ‘bagpipes’ until the tenth century, and from then until the fourteenth century they were the loud, outdoor, celebratory or marshalling instrument. The bass drone was already being used in France in 1280, but hitching a bellows to pipes was only first recorded in drawings from Ferrara in 1521 (Marcuse, Survey of Musical Instruments, 1975). The bellows was established in France by 1577, where the ‘musette’ was to become a popular instrument of court in the 1600s and 1700s; bellows were well established on Irish pipes by 1770. (see uilleann pipes) bagpipe types. Bladder pipes are still to be found in Poland where they can have one or two bladders; these are held against the chest. In Albania, Siberia, Turkey, Brittany and Sicily they are often used too, but as a toy. Most nationalities in Europe and the Islamic world have bagpipes: Irish war piper from Derrick’s Image of Ireland, 1591 B bagpipe 36 Poland has its ‘koziol’ (= goat), Arabic Africa has its ‘jirbah’, Galicia has its ‘gaita’, Bulgaria has the ‘gaida’, Brittany the ‘biniou’, southern France the ‘chabreta’, Belarus the ‘duduk’. Asia and Central Europe have many versions. Ireland. The first record of some sort of Irish pipe in Ireland is at the eleventh-century Aonach Carmain. The next is with Irish soldiers at Crecy in 1346 (the French–English Hundred Years War of 1337–1453), then in a fifteenth-century wood carving from Woodstock Castle, Co. Kilkenny (Breathnach 1971, 69). The father of Galileo praised the versatility of the Irish bagpipes’ emotional...


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