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

History: 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.

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.

As was the case in much of Europe, bagpipes in Hungary were associated with shepherds and a pastoral lifestyle. And we’re often used in Christmas scenes to evoke the shepherds of the nativity. At the same time the duda was associated with the pagan lifestyle of the countryside.

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.

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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