Preface / Introduction

This website is the result of my decision to compile an inventory of all terms related to bagpipes I encountered in literature on the instrument. Originally its title was Editobari (which is an acronym of its full subtitle), but the name Bagpipedia is an idea suggested by a French friend, Luc Monod, who is the “motor” behind the Bibliographia Cornamusarum, which is a project in progress, intended to compose a survey of "all" known bagpipe-related literature, historical and recent, in any language.

Of course I started with a list of "names" for the instrument in as many languages I was able to find, but at a certain moment I decided to add names of their parts, as well. During the process I also added terms used to specify playing techniques, and other terminology closely related to the instrument. With a few exceptions I refrained from adding "general" musical terminology, however.

In various cases I was able to add terms, not found in literature, but provided by friends and other people (mainly pipers and craftsmen), some of whom I met at festivals in which I participated, or came in contact with through the internet. In such cases I always refer to my informants in the appendix "Personal communication" (➺ Tab Sources).

At a much later stage, I decided to collect information about several bagpipe-related issues, which are presented in specific appendices.

The etymology of several bagpipe names has been touched in many sources, and in certain cases even thoroughly treated. Though a very interesting field of research, I decided to avoid repeating all possible theories, being of the opinion that it wouldn’t add substance to my aim: a list of terms and their use in bagpiping traditions.

A “national” designation is often used for any type of bagpipe, regardless of its origin. Sometimes this is due to the lack of a more general term (such as Bagpipe in English, Cornemuse in French, Sackpfeife [or Dudelsack] in German).

Bulgarians, for example, will usually call an Italian Zampogna a "Gajda", and even Italians familiar with the differences in regional bagpipe types and their characteristics, often call a Bulgarian Gajda a "Zampogna", instead of using the Italian general term Cornamusa. The Spanish, too, tend to call a foreign bagpipe a "Gaita" as well. Oddly, in one of the standard dictionaries (Vox) I even encountered the term Cornamusa defined as “Instrumento rústico, especie de gaita gallega”. The Gaita galega (Galician orthography!) is, however, a kind of Cornamusa, NOT the other way round…

Please note the following details in my dictionary:
Included are only the types of wind instruments that are played with inaudible effects of breathing.
a. Bagpipes and Bladder pipes.
b. Launeddas and (other) polyphonic hornpipes played with circular breathing technique.
c. Mouth organs, which are traditionally played with an uninterrupted alternation of blowing and inhaling (Compare the technique applied in accordions).

My intention was to add illustrations (photos or otherwise) to the main entries of all types of bagpipes (and, if required, other instruments). Unfortunately, however, I had to decide to refrain from doing so (for the time being), and leave it to the readers to search for them on the internet. The principal reason for the lack of such illustrations lies in the fact that copyright laws differ in the various countries. Copyright law in the USA includes a "fair use" clause, which provides for a certain liberty to use existing illustrations for "educational" purposes, but I was unable to detect similar exceptions in the laws of other countries!

Spelling: Throughout my website I apply the British orthography of words that have a different spelling in American English: Nouns: enquiry (Am.: inquiry); labour (labor); centre (center), &c.; Verbs: practise (practice), organise (organize), &c. The only exceptions are those used in quotations, which are – as a matter of course – always according to the original.

Grammatical idiosyncrasies (i.e. information on "gender" and spelling) are explained in all appropriate entries of Countries.

The consistently applied difference in use of the terms "cane" (material: Arundo donax, &c.) and "reed" (tone generator).

With 1 or 2 exceptions, general terms for musical performance (appoggiatura, slide/slur, cadent/springer, shake, prall, mordent, &c.) are not inserted, unless very typical for a specific piping style. Deviating terms have been inserted, though.

An asterisk (*) added to a source indicates an illustration: 3*: ill. on p.3; 3/*: text and ill. on p.3; -*-: ill(s) in the text of the indicated section.

The lack (in Remarks) of details about use of bagpipes:
Because bagpipes are commonly played at a number of festivities (religious or profane rituals: weddings, &c.), I have not included such occasions in my remarks, but decided to mention only exceptions and special occasions, e.g.: "NOT used for dance accompaniment" (➺ the Diple in Zelovo, HR).

In some countries or regions the number of pipers is so large, that lists of all their names are apt to fill separate dictionaries for each of those areas (e.g. Bulgaria, Galicia (Spain), Ireland, Italy (various types, including the Sardinian Launeddas), Macedonia and, of course, Scotland). Therefore I decided to include only those mentioned in literature as being representative of their culture. Please rest assured that my more or less random choice doesn’t imply any form of disrespect of others, who may even be considered to be more representative by a reader more familiar with each particular field of interest, and therefore possibly better equipped to make such a choice.

Justification / accountability:
The number of questions left unanswered by the authors of my many sources, exceeds the details found by far. Trying to find all the answers requires another lifetime (Even if outside help would be provided, I reckon) …

Note the difference between the Romanian Ș/ș [with comma] and Turkish Ş/ş [with cedilla]; NB: The Romanian Ț/ț [with comma] is quite often replaced by a Ţ/ţ [with cedilla], even though the latter does NOT occur in any language.

Note that, unless otherwise indicated, all details marked "NB"; are added by me.

NB: All my remarks on linguistics (i.e. details on grammatical forms, &c.) are based on my interpretation of information in dictionaries, &c.

Wiebe Stodel, 24 July 2021 (Revised version: 16 March 2023).