Duda

Name: Duda.
Type: Aerophones > Reeds > Bagpipes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 422.112
Country: Hungary.
Region: Eastern Europe.

Description: The Hungarian duda [also known as tömlősíp and bőrduda] is the traditional bagpipe of Hungary. It is an example of a group of bagpipes called Medio-Carpathian bagpipes. The accounts of origins concerning the duda are conflicting regarding the exact form of the Hungarian bagpipe.

Features: The most characteristic feature of the magyar duda is the double-bored chanter. One chanter bore, the dallamsíp [“melody pipe”] plays the melody within an octave range. The second chanter, the kontrasíp or kontra [“contra pipe”] has a single finger hole and sounds either the lowest note on the melody pipe or drops to the dominant [i.e., on a pipe in A it sounds either A or E].

Hungarian piping is characterized by use of the kontra to provide rhythmic accompaniment and to vary the drone sound. The melody pipe has a “flea hole”, a common feature in Eastern bagpipes: the top hole on the chanter is very small and uncovering it raises the pitch of any other note by approximately a semitone, making the Hungarian pipe largely chromatic over its range, it lacks a major seventh. In some historic examples, the magyar duda was tuned with a neutral [i.e., between the major and the minor in pitch] third and sixth and the flea hole was filled in with wax.

There is considerable variation in physical appearance of the duda in Hungary, but the most common form has a chanter stock in the form of an animal’s head. Usually that of a goat-like animal and a cow horn bell on both the kontra and the drone. Historically the bag was often made from dog skin – leading to a popular song that stated that prospective bagpipers needed to “go to hell because that’s where the big dogs are from which good bagpipes can be made” but today goatskin is a much more common material.

Cocks describes it as similar to the Bulgarian one which has a chanter and a bass drone but no tenor drone. Baines [pp. 77-79] gives Hungary as one of the countries possessing the duda, which has this construction, also a Hungarian bagpipe with a diple [i.e., twin-bore] chanter, one bore of which gives a variable drone, the bagpipe having a bass drone in addition.

Robert Bright in Travels through Lower Hungary 1818 quoted by Flood [p. 79] describes the Hungarian bagpipe as having two drones and a chanter of square section [in other worlds the Dudelsack]. Fraser [p. 243] has a picture of a Hungarian bagpipe with one chanter and one drone of medium length, probably a bass drone. It seems possible that all these forms of the instrument may be in use.

Citations: Bibliography: Francis M. Collinson – The bagpipe: the history of a musical instrument, Routledge, 1975 p. 220 ISBN 0710079133 ISBN 9780710079138 Websites:

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