The Bagpipe The Bulgarian bagpipe or GAIDA which some westerners misquote as Macedonian is a typical folklore instrument. It belongs to the group of wind instruments. It first appeared in the remote past somewhere in Southeast Asia, but it is now part of the folklore music in many countries in Europe, Asia and Africa. In some like France, Germany, Austria and others it has been improved, retained its primitive shape. In Bulgaria the gaida is bound up with people’s everyday life. As an instrument with a very powerful sound it is often played at weddings, at grape-harvest time, holidays like Trifon Zarezan in February when the vines are clipped, at Nestinari (barefoot walking on live coals) or Koukeri (masking parades) games and gatherings. The gaida is a respected instrument in many parts of the country but it is most treasured in the Rhodopi Mountains.
The Bulgarian gaida has two sound pipes – a chanter and a drone. There are of course bagpipes with more than two sound pipes, but they are not representative for Bulgaria. There are two types of bagpipes here – the low, mountain gaida, also called KABA, and the high weddings gaida which is called DJOURA.The Kaba gaida is the most popular type of Bulgarian bagpipes. It is distinguished for its large bag, longer chanter and drone. The sound is unique, deep and beautiful; it takes you away to the mild green hills of its home, the Rhodopi Mountain.
There are data about a third type DVOIANKA (double chanter) but it can rarely be heard. Construction: All share a common form: white kidskin bag, blowpipe, drone and chanter. The wooden parts are as follows:
1. "duhalo" (blowpipe) – a short (12 cm) wooden pipe through which the player blows in order to fill the bag with air. The bottom part of the duhalo has a skin flapjack which prevents the air from escaping out of the bag;
2. "gaidunitsa" – a chanter, made of hard wood, 25-30 cm long. The gaidunitza has on its face side seven finger holes of different width and on its back side a single hole for the thumb. The tone row is obtained from the finger holes. The "gaidunitsa" makes this instrument unique. It has the capability of a full chromatic scale.
3. "ruchilo" (drone) – made out of plum tree, 58cm. The drone produces only one tone, which sounds incessantly and is in unison with the main tone of the melody.
4. “Glavini” (Stocks)
The bagpipe tone is achieved through the help of "piskuni" (reeds) – thin pipes, with a tongue cut in lengthwise. The long one is made of special type of reed, it is 8, 5 cm long, and placed at the upper end of the drone. The smaller one (5 cm long), made of cow's horn, is for the gaidunitsa. Its most unusual detail is the "flea hole", a small metal ring at the top of the pipe that calls the tune. In its low register the bagpipe sounds softly with a subdued tone. In its high register the bagpipe tone becomes harsh, sharp and shrill. Generally, the bagpipe sounds full toned and mellow.
- The large KABA gaida with a low register is typical for the Rhodopi mountain area. It is usually pitched in the key of E (mi) or D (re). It is distinguished for its large bag, longer chanter and drone. The chanter is cylindrical or hexagonal with slight curve in its lower end. Griff apertures are 8 and differ in diameter and form. The drone consists of three parts. The most important acoustic role plays the third part - it forms the specific timbre of the sound. The reeds of the Kaba-gaida are quite big as well. The ring cap is made from cow-horn. When all griff apertures are closed, in accordance to the full length of the chanter, the produced tones may be C, Bb or A of the little octave. The drone is formed in tune with the tone that is two octaves lower than the quintal tone of the chanter. The sonority of the Kaba-gaida is mild and pleasant. Very often the piper-man sings and accompanies his song himself.
- And the small one called DJURA gaida with a high-pitched register. It is outspread in Thrace, Northern Bulgaria, and Dobrudja. Djura gaida is usually pitched in the key of G (sol). Djura in the key of D (re) also can be made. The high Djura-gaida is smaller than the Kaba. The chanter is in the form of cone with 7 griff apertures on the front side and one on the back side. The drone consists of three different-length parts. Due to the length of the joints, the drone is shortened or made longer till the right tune matching the chanter is achieved. The reed of the chanter is small as well. At all griff apertures closed, chanter produces G of the 1st octave. The basic key of the drone may be D or E. Djura-gaidas are characterized by its bright and sharp sonority, very suitable for playing on the outside. They are often accompanied with tupan (a big folk drum). www.forum.bg-nacionalisti.org/index.php