Type: Aerophones > Heteroglots > Bagpipes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 422.112
Area: Abruzzo, Latium, Molise, Basilicata, Campania, Calabria and Sicily.
Region: South Europe.
Description: The name “zampogna” is a generic term for a number of Italian pipes with double chanters; this bagpipe can be found as far north as the southern part of the Marche, throughout areas in Abruzzo, Latium, Molise, Basilicata, Campania, Calabria and Sicily.
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.
Playing Techniques: The double reeded version of the zampogna is generally played with the piffero called biffera in the Ciociaria, or ciaramella or pipita in other regions; a shawm which plays the melody and the zampogna provides chord changes, “vamping” or rhythmic harmony figures or a bass line and a soprano harmony as accompaniment. This double reed tradition would include the Ciociaria [Latium, southern Abruzzo and Molise], that of southern Basilicata [Pollino] and nearby areas of Calabria and some areas of Sicily [Syracuse, Palermo].
Single reed versions are played solo in the Calabrian tradition of the surdullina [Cosenza] and a version with a plugged chanter called the surdullina Albanese and the Sicilian ciaramedda or ciaramella [Catania, Messina and Reggio Calabria]. The chanters and drones vary, according to the tradition; some from a few inches long [surdullina] to nearly two meters in length. Such as used in the cathedral of Monreale [Palermo] and nearly every size in between. The pipes are related to the Sardinian launeddas; a single reed “triple clarinet” comprising two chanters and a drone and played in the mouth by circular breathing.