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. This is related to the influence of Occitania during the Kingdom of Aragon, as 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 which retains the air, 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 way back machine]. “Xeremies i Xeremiers a Mallorca”. Sant Llorenç des Cardassar, Spain. Archived from the original on 26 July 2011. Retrieved 28 November 2007; Breno [2002-03-02]. “Xeremies mallorquina, un poco de lenguas, geografia e historia”. Archived from the original on December 2, 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-30 ; Cucurull, Tomàs . “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 ;