Category Archives: Heteroglots



Name: Pibgorn.
Type: Aerophones > Reeds > Hornpipes.
Hornbostel Sachs No#: 422.211.2
Country: Whales.
Region: Western Europe.

Description: The pibgorn is a Welsh heteroglot reed idiophone. The name translates literally as “pipe-horn”. It is also historically known as cornicyll and pib-corn. It utilizes a single reed [Welsh: “cal”, or “calaf”] cut from elder [Sambucus nigra] or reed [Arundo phragmites], like that found in the drone of a bagpipe, which is an early form of the modern clarinet reed.

Early History: The pipes in Wales, of which the pibgorn is a class, are mentioned in the laws of Hywel Dda [d. 949–50]. The earliest transcription of these dates from 1250 and specify that “the King should recognize the status of a Pencerdd.

The second in importance of the three court musicians, namely; Bardd Teulu, Pencerdd and Cerddor in his service by giving him an appropriate instrument – either Harp, Crwth or Pipes.” In modern Welsh orthography these three instruments are called telyn, crwth and pibau. Peniarth 20 [Brut y Tywysogion] c 1330, states that there are three types of wind instrument: “Organ, a Phibeu a Cherd y got”, “organ, and pipes and bag music”.

However, the instrument itself is older than these references, and is part of a pattern of distribution of similar idioglot reed-pipes, hornpipes and bag-hornpipes throughout Asia, Europe and North Africa that includes the “Old British pibgorn or hornpipe” alboka, arghul, boha and others.

William Morris writes in a letter to his brother the folklorist Richard Morris in 1759: “[Translated]How pleasing it was to see the young farmworkers with their pibau cyrn [horn pipes] under their arms….gathering the cows and piping ‘Mwynen Mai’ and ‘Meillionnen’.

According to Daines Barrington, who presented the pibgorn specimen shown at the Museum of Welsh life to Fellows of the Society of Antiquaries of London, an Anglesey landowner called Mr Wynn of Penhesgedd, offered an annual prize for pibgorn playing towards the end of the eighteenth century.

One such competition at Castellior Farm attracted 200 players. There is a further description by Siôn Wiliam Prichard [1749-1829] of Christmas celebrations on the Castellior farm where the pibgorn and other instruments were played. Barrington described the tone of the instrument as played to him: “by one of the lads [who had obtained the prize]… considering the materials of which the pibgorn is composed is really very tolerable”

David Griffith Clwydfardd [D. 1894] recalls his father telling him that “playing the Pibgorn was a common thing in those days in the South and that farmers’ servant men were in the habit of carrying them with them when driving cattle to the fairs.”

Construction: The single chambered body of the elder pipe has a naturally occurring parallel bore, into which are drilled six small finger-holes and a thumb-hole giving a diatonic compass of an octave. The body of the instrument is traditionally carved from a single piece of wood or bone. Playable, extant historical examples in the Museum of Welsh Life have bodies cut and shaped of elder. Another, unplayable instrument at the Museum, possibly of a later date, is made from the leg bone of an unspecified ungulate.

Contemporary instruments are turned and bored from a variety of fruitwoods, or exotic hardwoods; or turned from, or moulded in plastics. The reed is protected by a reed-cap or stock of cow-horn. The bell is shaped from a section of cow-horn which serves to amplify the sound. The pibgorn may be attached to a bag, with the additional possibility of a drone, which is then called pibau cwd; or played directly with the mouth via the reed-cap.

Citations: Bibliography: Bagpipes by Anthony Baines. Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford, Occasional papers on technology series, 9 ISBN 0-902793-10-1 ; The Old British “Pibcorn” or “Hornpipe” and its affinities. By Henry Balfour, Esq., M.A., F.Z.S © 1891 Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland ; Harper, Sally. “Instrumental Music in Medieval Wales.” North American Journal of Welsh Studies, Vol. 3, no. 1. Flint, MI: North American Association for the Study of Welsh Culture and History, 2004 ; Websites:


Name: Zhaleika.
Type: Aerophones > Reeds > Hornpipes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 422.211.2
Country: Russian Federation.
Region: Eastern Europe.

Description: The zhaleika [in Russian: Жалейка zhaleika] other names are as брёлка or bryolka, Zhalomeika, sopel’, pishchelka, fletnya, duda. It is a single reed instrument belonging to the same family as the crumhorn. There is a single and double pipe variety of zhaleika. Although the double pipe zhaleika is mainly found.

Etymology: The word zhaleika [in Russian: Жалейка] is derived from Slavonic zhal, which may translate as ‘sad, sorrowful and mournful, also the root of zhalnik [‘a grave’]. Inhabitants of northern Belarus remember that the zhaleika could be heard during burial ceremonies in the 1930s.

The term golos [‘voice’] as applied to Belarusian instruments is related to the belief that some instruments arose from trees growing on the graves of murdered children. The soul and voice of the child were thought to move first into a sacred tree, then into the instruments made from its wood. Thus, an instrument with an extraordinary and distinctive voice is an integral feature of ancient Belarusian burial rituals.

History: The zhaleika was a shepherd’s instrument used to perform solos, duets or ensemble pieces. The earliest single-reed pipe instruments date back to about 2700 BCE in Egypt, where most of these instruments most commonly had double pipes and used idioglot reeds. The earliest evidence of the zhaleika was in A. Tuchkov’s notes dating back to the late 18th Century.

The zhaleika was widely spread in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Lithuania but now can only be seen in folk music orchestras. In 1900, V. V. Andreyev incorporated a modified zhaleika – called bryolka – into orchestras. It consisted of a double-reed oboe type with additional finger holes and vents for chromatic scale.

Tuning: The zhaleika has diatonic tuning and comes in various keys [G / A / D or sometimes C / E / F ]. It has a natural or “normal” soprano voice, but can perform in alto or piccolo forms. It is tuned by adjusting the reed and can be turned to the major scale or mixolydian mode with flattened 7th note. Only an octave’s worth of notes can be played. Its timbre is described as “piercing and nasal, sad and compassionate”.

Construction: The zhaleika consists of a single reed that can be covered by a mouthpiece [or “wind cap”]. Consisting of a wooden tube with finger holes and a flared bell that can be made of either natural from wood, horn, cane or goose feather or man-made materials. The single pipe zhaleika is about 10 cm 20 cm long with a reed made out of either cane or goose feather with an end bell; it is made of cow horn or birch bark with 3 to 7 finger holes.

Citations: Bibliography: O Kroll, 1968 – The Clarinet. New York, NY: Taplinger Publishing Company ; Websites: article by Inna D. Nazina Zhaleika ~ Grove Dictionary Of Music ;


Name: Birbyne.
Type: Aerophones > Reeds > Hornpipes.
Hornbostel Sachs No#: 422.211.2
Country: Lithuania.
Region: Baltic & Eastern European.

Description: A birbynė also known as klernata, parputas, ragelis is a Lithuanian aerophone that can be either single or double-reeded and may or may not have a mouthpiece. The earliest and simplest examples were used by children as play-toys and by shepherds as a tool to control the herd.

Etymology: The name Birbyne has its origins in the word birbti, meaning “poached” or “popcorn”. The name Birbyne was first documented in the psalm of J. Bretkūnas – Reza in 1615. The word birbynė is first mentioned by P. Ruigys in the Lithuanian-German, German-Lithuanian Dictionary first published in 1747. Currently existing knowledge of this instrument is found in the later works of the following researchers with in Lithuania’s culture and ethnography.

Documented sources of the birbyne include, Nesselmann’s GH “Wörterbuch der littauischen Sprache” translated title in English “Dictionary of the Lithuanian language” 1850; Kukolnik II 1854; Tyszkiewicz E. 1869; Bezzenberger A. 1882; Kurschat F. 1883. Lithuanian ethnography researchers also wrote about Birbynė, especially in the 20th century: M. Petrauskas; J. Žilevičius; Z. Slaviūnas – Slavinskas; S. Paliulis; P. Samuitis and A. Vyžintas; R. Apanavičius and Others.

Development: With the creation of the Lithuanian Folk Orchestra in the 1940s. A family of bribing were developed. These Birbyne were tuned to the chromatic scale to allow for playing in an orchestral arrangement. Modern birbynės are made of wood with bells of horn and usually have ten tone holes. They are divided by pitch range into three categories: soprano, tenor, and contrabass.

Povilas Samuitis and Pranas Serva constructed an improved chromatic high birbynė, and in 1952 he built the Pranas Kupčikas, double bass, one year later tenor chromatic birbynes. The improved Birbyn family consists of high, tenor and double bass. The body of the instrument, high and tenor birbynes is made of ash, maple, apple, pear tree and double bass from metal. 

Construction: Birbynė can be made of a variety of materials: woods, which include ash, maple, apple, pear-tree bark, horn, straw, goose feather.

Citations: Bibliography: Baltrėnienė, Marija; Romualdas Apanavičius 1991 Lietuvių liaudies muzikos instrumentai [in Lithuanian] Vilnius: Mintis. pp. 107–114. ISBN 5-417-00122-8 ; [in English]: Baltrėnienė, Marija; Romualdas Apanavičius 1991 Lithuanian Folk Music Instruments ; Vilnius: Mintis. pp. 107–114. ISBN 5-417-00122-8 ; Websites:


Name: Alboka.
Type: Aerophones > Reeds > Hornpipes.
Hornbostel Sachs No#: 422.211.2
Country: Basque.
Region: Iberian Peninsula & Western Europe.

Description: The Basque alboka is a single-reed woodwind instrument consisting of a single reed, two small diameter melody pipes with finger holes and a bell traditionally made from animal horn. Additionally, a reed cap of animal horn is placed around the reed to contain the breath and allow circular breathing for constant play. In basque language alboka player have the name albokari.

Although native to the Basque region, similar instruments can be found around Spain including Madrid [gaita serrana], Asturias [turullu] and Castile and Andalusia [gaita gastorena]. But in those cases they only have a single pipe. The name is derived from the Arabic “al-bûq” [البوق], which means “the trumpet” or “the horn”.

The alboka was established in Spain by the end of the 13th-century. Representations of it can be found in the “Poema de Alexandre” and surviving medieval sculptural church decorations

Construction: The alboka has two cane pipes, a wood handle, and a horn at each end. It may be descended from the Moroccan double hornpipe, which has two cane pipes, each cane pipe is fitted with a cow horn.

Citations: Bibliography: Websites:


Name: Parkapzuk.
Type: Aerophones > Reeds > Bagpipes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 422.112
Country: Armenia.
Region: Caucasus.

Description: The parkapzuk [in Armenian: Պարկապզուկ parkapzuk] is a drone-less, horn-belled bagpipe played in Armenia. This pipe features double chanters, each having five or six finger-holes, although the chanters are tuned slightly apart from each other. This gives a “beat to the sound waves as each pipe is tuned to produce a “beat” the the parkapzuk is played. This property of the tuning gives the instrument a penetrating tone.

Researchers in 1996 and 1997 noted they recorded one of the last active pipers of that time. Some sources indicate that the parkapzuk has only a single chanter, while others indicate it is double-chartered like the tulum.

Construction: The parkapzuk is made of three week old, sheep or lamb skin. Which has been gutted and hardened. The size of the ‘bag’, depends on the player’s comfortable size. The pipes are made of wood. Wood was the original material, preferably wood from an apricot tree, but today some of the pipes have been made of plastic, as it is cheaper and less difficult to make.

Citations: Bibliography: Robert At‘ayan ~ New Grove Dictionary Of Music : Malou Haine; Hubert Boone; Isabelle Deleuse; Géry Dumoulin; Wim Bosmans; Karel Moens; Anja Van Lerberghe; Ferdinand J De Hen; Pascale Vandervellen; Musée Instrumental 18 September 2001. Musée des Instruments de Musique: Cornemuses européennes. Editions Mardaga. pp. 8–. ISBN 978-2-87009-786-1 Websites: Oxford Dictionary Online / Parkapzuk article ;


Name: Mizwad.
Type: Aerophones > Reeds > Bagpipes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 422.112
Country: Many.
Region: North Africa.

Description: The mizwad [or mezoued, mizwid] in Tunisian Arabic : مِزْود; plural مَزاود mazāwid, literally “sack,” “bag,” or “food pouch”] is a type of bagpipes played in Tunisia, Chakwa in East of Algeria [in French]. The instrument consists of a skin bag made from ewe’s leather, with a joined double-chanter, terminating in two cow horns, similar to a hornpipe. This instrument is played with a single-reed.

The ethnomusicologist Anthony Baines stated that the term “zukra” is also used for this instrument, however, bagpipe enthusiast, Oliver Seeler, states that this connection is incorrect. While the Zukra may be similar, it is not the same, It is instead a wind instrument in Libya, which is similar to the mizwad. Though not the same.

The Mizwad is a popular type of traditional music in Tunisia which incorporates the dumbek as well as the Mizwad. This music was originally considered the music of the countryside and the working class. It is often played at weddings and formal parties, and it also has its own traditional dances which are said to make people enter a trance-like state.

Citations: Bibliography: Websites: Mizwad / The Universe Of Bagpipes article and page by Oliver Seeler ;


Name: Zukra.
Type: Aerophones > Reeds > Bagpipes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 422.112
Country: Many.
Region: North Africa.

Description: The zukra [in Arabic; زكرة: zokra or zoughara] is a Libyan bagpipe with a double-chanter terminating in two cow horns; it is similar in construction to the Tunisian mizwad. The instrument is played as a bagpipe in the south and west of Libya, but played by mouth without a bag in the east. The instrument is played at feasts, weddings and funerals.

Citations: Bibliography: Simon Broughton; Mark Ellingham; Jon Lusk 5 December 2006 ; The Rough Guide to World Music: Africa & Middle East. Rough Guides. p. 194. ISBN 978-1-84353-551-5 ; Websites:


Name: Gadjy.
Type: Aerophones > Reeds > Bagpipes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 422.112
Country: Slovakia.
Region: Central Europe.

Description: The Gadjy is a Slovakian bagpipe whose 14th-century illustrations depict two types. Widespread in other areas of Slovakia is a bagpipe with a shorter chanter 21.3 cm. with two pipes – one melodic, with five finger-holes and a thumbhole and the other a small drone bored in one piece of wood.

In the south of Slovakia, a chanter is known with six finger holes, the uppermost opposite of the thumbhole, permitting semitones. Central Slovakia had a bagpipe with three pipes. One melodic and two drones, all bored in the same piece of wood.

The bags, often quite large, are normally of goat or deerskin and all reeds are single [clarinet type]. Chanters and drones are extensively decorated with long and short rings, usually of brass, covering much of the wood, and their stocks are normally surmounted with a carved goat’s or dragon’s head

In the Orava region an old type of gajdy is still used. This type of gajde has a chanter 35 cm to 40 cm in length. A drone 75 cm to 85 cm in length, and a short wooden mouthpipe. The chanter has six finger holes and a thumbhole. Both chanter and drone end with an up-curved horn bell. The gajdy is often covered with brass sheet and sometimes wholly of brass.

Citations: Bibliography: Ivan Mačak ~ New Grove Dictionary Of Music ; Websites: Grove Music Oxford Music Online / Gadje ;


Name: Zampogna.
Type: Aerophones > Reeds > Bagpipes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 422.112
Country: Italy.
Region: Mediterranean & Southern Europe.

Description: The zampogna UK: /zæmˈpɒnjə/, US: /zæmˈpoʊnjə, (t)sɑːmˈ-/, Italian: [pronunciation: tsamˈpoɲɲa, dzamˈ-] is a generic term for a number of Italian pipes having double-chanters that can be found as far north as the southern part of the Marche, throughout areas in Abruzzo, Latium, Molise, Basilicata, Campania, Calabria and Sicily. a] Zampogna with blowpipe, two chanters and two drones, Italian [Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford]; b] zampogna player: detail from ‘The Shepherds’, fresco from the cycle ‘Life and Glory of the Virgin’ by Ludovico Seitz, 1892–1902, Cappella Tedesca, S. Casa, Loreto.

The tradition is now mostly associated with Christmas, and the most famous Italian carol, “Tu scendi dalle stelle” [You Come Down From the Stars] is derived from traditional zampogna music. However, there is an ongoing resurgence of the instrument in secular use seen with the increasing number of folk music festivals and folk music ensembles.

Etymology: The word zampogna is etymologically related to the Greek symphōnia [συμφωνία], meaning “concord or unison of sound” [from σῠν- syn-, “with, together” + φωνή phōnḗ, “sound”] and applied later to a type of bagpipe. It cognates to tsampouna, the word for the Greek island bagpipe [itself a re-borrowing of zampogna), Romanian cimpoi, which means “symphony” or “many sounds played together” and the Georgian čiboni.

Citations: Bibliography: Mansell / Time Pix / Katz ~ New Grove Dictionary ; Websites: Zampogna / Grove Dictionary Of Music Online ;


Name: Xeremia.
Type: Aerophones > Reeds > Bagpipes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 422.112
Country: Majorca [Mallorca], Spain.
Region: Iberian Peninsula & Western Europe.

Description: The xeremia [in Catalan xeremia in IPA: ʃəɾəˈmi.ə], plural xeremies] is a type of bagpipe native to the island of Majorca [Mallorca].

History:The first documented evidence of bagpipes in the Iberian Peninsula dates to the Middle Ages. The first documentation and written evidence dates to the 9th century, in a letter from Saint Jerome to Dardanus: “The chorus is a simple leather hide with two brass tubes. The player blows into one, and the chorus emits the sound through the other”.

The influence of the court of Aragon and particularly that of Catalonia in the Balearic Islands and the cultural exchanges on both sides of the Pyrenees together with Catalan hegemony in Occitania, which had been a strong cultural center, caused an increase the number of bards and minstrels increased. In 1209 there was a massive migration of bards and minstrels fleeing Occitania, due to repression by the northern French monarchs, encouraged by Pope Innocent III.

Bagpipes became prominent in those areas where the courts of Aragon and Catalonia had influence. When James I the Conqueror, conquered Majorca and Ibiza and repopulated those lands with his vassals of Catalan origin, they brought the bagpipes with them: the sac de gemecs, from which the Mallorcan xeremia [xeremia mallorquina] is derived.

In the archive of the Crown of Aragon there is a document from the year 1343 that names one Joan Mascum, bagpipe minstrel to the king, from Majorca in reference to king James III. Further, it is known that the minstrels of the king of Mallorca brought to the court of Peter IV the ceremonial playing of the bagpipe through the city of Tortosa in the year 1353. There are further reports that bagpipers from a variety of nations would congregate, especially during Lent.

Etymology: The name xeremia is of French origin. The Old French word chalemie over time became charemie. In relation to the influence from of Occitania during the Kingdom of Aragon. Catalan was quite strong from the year 531 to approximately 1131 as the Occitan cultural centre expanded through the means of minstrels and bards, throughout the territory that would later be known as Catalonia.

The instrument’s name may be used in the singular or in the plural and has several variants, depending on the location. In Ibiza the instrument exists only without a bag, but is called also Xeremia. In the Balearic Islands it is called xeremia, xirimia, xeremies or xirimies while in Catalonia it is known as sac de gemecs.

Construction: It consists of a bag made of skin or modern synthetic materials, known as a sac or sarró. A blowpipe [bufador], a melody pipe or chanter [grall] and several, generally three, drones [bordons]. The primary drone [roncó] sounds a tonic note, but the other drones are sometimes simply false drones for ornamentation.

Citations: Bibliography: Genovart Espinosa, Antoni [October 2007, archived by wayback machine] ; “Xeremies i Xeremiers a Mallorca”, Sant Llorenç des Cardassar, Spain “Xeremies mallorquina, un poco de lenguas, geografía e historia” ; Cucurull, Tomàs 2007 ~ “Es sac de gemecs. El sac de gemecs” año 2000 ed. ; Sant Jaume dels Domenys, Cataluña, Spain ; Xeremies mallorquina, un poco de lenguas, geografía e historia, Cucurull, Tomàs 2007. “Es sac de gemecs. El sac de gemecs”, año 2000 ed. Sant Jaume dels Domenys, Cataluña, Spain. Archived from the original on 26 July 2011 ;