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Page 17 of 30 illustrating the pipes heard on Bagpipes of the World

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KABA GAIDA
Bulgaria ~ Rodope Mountains
reverse-conical bore chanter with single-blade reed; one cylindrical bore drone, single-blade reed


Sound Sample in .MP3 format

sound samples copyright 1999 by Oliver Seeler & Sean Folsom


General Comments:

Bulgaria is one of the few places where the bagpipe never really went into steep decline, perhaps because the country as a whole remained a bit remote from the rapid changes of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The gaida in its more common orchestral variety has remained the national instrument there in the same way the Great Highland pipe has in Scotland. The Kaba Gaida, however, is a bit of a different beast, not just an enlarged and lower-pitched ordinary gaida. In particular, it is perhaps the only bagpipe with a melody pipe having a tapered bore that narrows, rather than widens, between its upper (reed) and lower (outlet) ends. Apparently, this was developed (or perhaps evolved is a better term) in order to keep the fingerholes of the low-pitched instrument close enough together to be played without undue stretching or keywork. The shape of course affects the sound, and is perhaps responsible for its somewhat haunting character. The "beak" at the oulet end of the chanter is perhaps a remnant of the instrument's hornpipe ancestry, as also seen on the Macedonian Gaida (pipe no. 3).


Musical Notes:


With its very low-pitched drone and unique chanter (see above), the Kaba Gaida produces a sweet haunting sound that is unmistakeable among the world's bagpipes and highly evocative of its ancient mountain home.


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


Sean Folsom playing the Bulgarian Kaba Gaida.
As with its cousin the Macedonian Gaida (pipe no. 3), the Kaba Gaida's chanter stock is made from a cow horn.

The concentric circles are "goddess eyes" intended to ward off the "evil eye"; these are nearly identical to those on pipe no.1, from Bohemia - a long way from Bulgaria.
The chanter and drone reeds, typically seated deeply into their pipes.


Photographs & Text Copyright 1999 - 2002, Oliver Seeler,

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