Western European Bagpipes



Northwest European Bagpipes

cornemuse This is photo of an early 19th century Walloon cornemuse in the collection of the Belgian Royal Music Museum. It is from the Hainaut area, south of Bruxelles. It was appearently owned by a François Piron of Arc-Ainières (1827-1886), and was restored by Jaques Laudy around 1960.
click on image
to enlarge
(27k)

Breton This is a reproduction of an origional post card showing a Breton biniou and bombard duo. This pairing of instruments, referred to as sonner par couple, is one of the most important instrumental sounds in Brittany. Don't get married there without them! To learn more about binious and Breton music and dance, visit the Ceolas Breton Music site.
click on image
to enlarge
(53k)

boitiers The French get pretty elaborate with their decorations, even on bagpipes. This is a photo (taken from an LP album cover I believe) showing boitiers (chanter-drone headstocks) of various types of cornemuses from the center of France. From l-r are: 2 grande musettes du Centre, 2 chabrettes limousinée, a chabra (I believe), and a musette Bechonnet.
click on image
to enlarge
(97k)

Cayla This is a scan of an original post card showing the famous Auvergnat bal musette band leader, Martin Cayla. There were many thousands of Auvergne immigrants living in Paris during the 1920s-40s, the period during which his "orchestra" made most of its recordings on it's own label Disques Soleil. Cayla was a highly regarded cabrettaïre and accordéonist. You'll find a photo and description of my cabrette by clicking here.
click on image
to enlarge
(35k)

Montbel Here is a photo of my first cornemuse instructor, Eric Montbel, of Lyon, France playing one of his chabrettes limousinée. This site, (the source of the photo) contains much detailed information and instrument descriptions (en français), and also old photos of Limousin pipers. Links from this site will take you to several pages of many great photos of old chabras and chabrettes.


click on image
to enlarge
(35k)

Jeanty This is an image of Justin "Jeanty" Benquet, the last traditional bohaire or player of the cornemuse landaise who died in 1957. He became famous while touring Europe with Los Basades, a Gascon folkloric group. This picture was "borrowed" from the Bohaires de Gasconha site (en français). Be sure to visit it. To see a photo of my boha, click here.

Back to the top


Southwest European Bagpipes

sac This image was lifted from the website of a Catalon periodical La Porra devoted to festivals of the region. The photo shows a Catalon man playing a sac de gemecs or "cornemusa Catalana", a little known bagpipe of Southwestern Europe. Notice the three drones protruding from the neck of the skin, while the blowpipe and chanter emerge from the forelegs. I am told by Josep Andreu (who is a player of this instrument), "The photo was taken in the 1950's. The man's name was Francesc Pasqual i Grau. He died in 1965 and was the last player of the instrument until it was recovered in 1983. Nowadays there are some 100 interpreters - including me :-) , but this number is increasing, fortunately." Thanks Josep!
click on image
to enlarge
(32k)

Majorca This is a scan of an original post card which depicts two Majorcan children in their colorful native costume. The little boy is playing the Majorcan version of the previous bagpipe. This instrument is also played in Minorca, the other Balearic island. Theodor Podnos (Bagpipes and Tunings) calls it a "xirimía", but the more popular spelling is xeremia.
click on image
to enlarge
(34k)

gaitero An old photo taken in 1900 shows a gaitero Margolles of Asturia (N. Spain). Also pictured is a tamboritero, the typical accompaniment for this bagpipe. The source for this photo is La Página Web de la Gaita Asturiana. You can find a photo and description of my gaita by clicking here. To learn more about gaitas visit Manuel Carro's Galician Bagpipes site.
click on image
to enlarge
(23k)

boto This is an photo of Juan Cazcarra Sesé, a gaitero from Bestué, Huesca, Spain playing the gaita de boto of Aragon. This unusal and little-known bagpipe has a drone arangement similar to the chabrette of Limousin (France); a small (tenor) drone or bordoneta is mounted in a common stock parallel to the chanter or claírn, and a large (bass) drone or bordón mayor which is tucked under the player's other arm. The drones and chanter of the boto are commonly covered in snake-skin, which some folks believe has symbolic meaning, or even magical powers like an amulate. The bag is made from a whole goatskin and is covered in a brightly patterned cloth "skirt." The source of the photo and information was the Gaitas Espanolas website.
click on image
to enlarge
(37k)

zampognari This colorful image of an Italian zampognari (bagpiper) of the Neopolitan region, and two women from Genzano, is taken from Plate No. 90 of "The History of Costume" by Braun & Schneider, c. 1861-1880. I lifted this from C. Otis Sweezy's History of Costume site. Their traditional dress is well illustrated here.
click on image
to enlarge
(83k)

Zampognari An old photo taken at the turn of the century shows a zampognari playing an immense zampogna, accompanied by a boy playing the piffaro. They are thought to be from Calabria according to the book cornemuses - souffIes infinis, souffles continus, which is the source of this photo.
click on image
to enlarge
(21k)

Back to the top


left hand

Back to Alan's Bagpipe Images Main Page


 About Alan  Alan's Performing Groups  Services  Products  General Interest  Home

Page last updated: 4/14/10