MD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 13332 posts, RR: 64 Reply 2, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 1187 times:
The history goes back to ancient Egypt. All bagpipes are double reed instruments, related to early forms of the oboe.
The problem with those instruments is that they need a lot of wind, and to keep on playing somebody had the idea to attach an animal bladder between the mouthpiece (which contains a small check valve) and the instrument. Later somebody had the idea to enlarge the bag and to attach a varying number of drones. pipes, often in single reed design, which would play a constant tone for the whole time. Other developments were the attachment of a bellows instead of the mounthpiece.
In the middle ages the bagpipes were played all over Europe, though today they only have seeemed to survive in Spain (Gaita Gallega), Scottland (Highland Bagpipes), Czech Republic (Böhmischer Bock, Bohemian Billy Goat, so called, because the connecting piece between the bag and the chanter is often carved to look like a goat), the Breton Musette, the Northumbrian Smallpipes and the Irish Uillean Pipes (with a bellows).
The Scottish Highland bagbipes are the biggest and loudest of the whole set and consist of one chanter (double reed) and three drones attached to a bag. They were originally played alone and outside only (Pibroch), the modern military pipe band is a Victorian invention.
The Gaita Gallega is usually played with the company of small hand drums and tambourines.