Duda

Name: Duda.
Type: Aerophones > Heteroglots > Bagpipes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 422.112
Area: Carpathian Basin.
Country: Hungary, etc.
Region: East 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-Carparthian bagpipes.

History: Accounts about the duda are conflicting, regarding the exact form of the Hungarian bagpipe. Cocks describes it as similar to the Bulgarian Gaida in construction 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 bag pipe 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.

The Hungarian bagpipe was essentially extinct except in small pockets by the 1950s but was “rescued” as part of the Hungarian folk revival, and is today a very popular instrument among Hungarian folk bands and their fans.

Legends: Aside from the above-mentioned song about bagpipers needing to go to hell, according to János Manga’s article ‘Hungarian Bagpipers’ [Acta ethnographica Academiæ Scientiarum Hungaricæ xiv [1–2]:1–97]. There were many legends about bagpipes that could play themselves when hung from the wall on a nail or about pipers summoned to Witches’ Sabbaths to perform for satanic hosts. Despite these stories, the duda never received the same sort of official censure in Catholic Hungary that bagpipes did in many Protestant nations.

Up until the 1920s the duda was the preferred instrument at celebrations in much of Hungary. As the Hungarian economy improved and the pastoral lifestyle declined in importance. The lone piper at a country ball or wedding was increasingly replaced by professional Gypsy bands [cigányzenekar] that played an urban repertoire on more complex and capable instruments.

Playing Techniques: Hungarian bagpiping is characterized in its styling by hiccupping, use of high notes to articulate lower notes, creating a characteristic rhythmic squeaking while the instrument is played. This playing style greatly influenced certain genres of fiddle music in Hungary.

And also characterized early church organ music in Hungary: prior to the introduction of organs, the duda had been used to accompany hymnody in churches. Béla Bartok’s composition “Bagpipe,” from Volume 5 of Mikrokosmos, is a piano piece that imitates the sound of the duda.

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