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Page 6 of 30 illustrating the pipes heard on Bagpipes of the World

For more information on the album click on the cover at left


GAITA GALLEGA
Spain ~ Galicia
conical bore chanter with double-blade reed; 2 cylindrical bore drones with single-blade reeds



General Comments:

Northwestern Spain - the area known as Galicia - was at one time on the route of the great Celtic migrations, and the influences of that culture are still very much alive in the region. Some think that this bagpipe was among the things left behind by the Celts, but this view is controversial and the pipe may have originated elsewhere. In any event, the Gaita has enjoyed greater and lesser popularity in Galicia and surrounding areas over the centuries. As with many continental bagpipes, the Gaita was threatened with decline during much of the 20th century, but in recent years its popularity has again soared and today many fine players and makers of the instrument are thriving. There are several variations of the Gaita Gallega, for example those found in Portugal (in the "Tres os Mont" region) and in the Spanish province of Asturia; these differ primarily in the number of drones, although there are also Gaitas found in different keys.


Musical Notes:


The Gaita is a powerful pipe with a bright sound. Depending on the exact chanter reed configuration and the skill of the player, it is capable of playing several overblown notes. The Gaita is usually found nominally pitched in C, though instruments in other keys are heard.


The scales and key signatures given may be regarded as approximations; bagpipes may deviate from conventional standards in absolute and relative pitch.


The Gaita Gallega being played by Sean Folsom.
The drones terminate in large hollow bells, which are covered on top but for holes roughly the size of the drone bores. Such enclosed bells are found on a few other bagpipes - notably the Scottish Great Highland Bagpipe - and seem to add depth to the sound of the drones.

The tenor drone (top-section partially seen at near left) was made by California pipe-maker Alan Kieth.
The pipes out of their stocks, showing the reeds.


Photographs & Text Copyright 1999 - 2002, Oliver Seeler,

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