I commented on Keiko Amano's blog on the Cornish language and the origins of the Gaelic speaking peoples, and then did some research on the history of bagpipes. Before the research I knew from visiting musuems in Ireland that bagpipes were played in Ireland, Scotland, England, Spain (particularly the areas of Asturias and Galicia) as well as Austria where Celtic peoples are from. I found out that bigpipes are played all over Europe, in India, and in Arabic countries. I generally knew that Celtic peoples migrated from the area in Austria (or further east in the Ukraine or the Balkans) to the west to northern Spain and northern France around two thousand years ago. From northern Spain Celtic peoples had a great migration to Ireland. As they migrated, they took their language and their bagpipes with them.
So here's more information about bagpipes. According to Wikiepdia, bagpipes were 1st seen in Western art in the 13th century with the Catigas de Santa Maria, Castille, Spain (photo below) showing two different kidns of bagpipes. Bagpipes are mentioned in Chaucer's Caterbury Tales in the 14th century: " A baggepype wel coude he blowe and sowne, /And ther-with-al he broghte us out of towne.["]
Wikepedia says that few bagpipes from before the 18th century have survived, but "a substantial number of paintings, carvings, engravings, manuscript illuminations, and so on survive. They make it clear that bagpipes varied hugely throughout Europe, and even within individual regions. Many examples of early folk bagpipes in Continental Europe can be found in the paintings of Brueghel, Teniers, Jordaens and Durer.
A detail from a painting by Hieronymus Bosch showing two bagpipers (16thCentury).
In Ireland, in 1581 the illustrator John Derrick's "The Image of Irelande" "clearly depicts a bagpiper falling in battle. Derrick's illustrations are considered to be reasonably faithful depictions of the attire and equipment of the English and Irish population of the 16th Century.' By 1760, Joseph MacDonald's 'Compleat Theory' was the first study of the music of the Scottish Highland bagpipes. Other manuscripts from England in the 1730s included music for the Border pipes and in England more manuscripts were published of bagpipe music. Wikepedia also says, "As Western classical music developed, both in terms of musical sophistication and instrumental technology, bagpipes in many regions fell out of favour due to their limited range and function. This triggered a long (but slow) decline which continued in most cases into the 20th century."
But i loved traditional Irish music and traditional Spanish music--both have bagpipes. I was fascianted by hearing how Spanish and Irish bagpipers once collaborated. I have grown up on a folk music and then world beat music, and find that tracing the history of bagpipes over 2,000 years and three continents is just great.
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