The Calabrian bag-pipe has a bag of goatskin with the hair left on, and is inflated by means of a blow-pipe. There are two drones and two chaunters, all fixed in one stock. Each chaunter has three or four finger-holes and the right-hand pipe has the fourth covered by a key enclosed in a perforated box; both drones and chaunter have double reeds.
The ancient Greek bag-pipe (see Askaules), and the Roman tibia utricularis, belonged to this class of instrument, inflated by the mouth, but it is not certain that they had drones (see below, History).
II. The second class of instruments, inflated by means of a small bellows worked by the arm, has as prototype the musette (see fig. 1 (3)), which is said to have been evolved during the 15th century; from the end of the 15th century there were always musette players at the French court, and we find the instrument fully developed at the beginning of the 17th century when Mersenne gives a full description of all its parts. The chief characteristic of the musette was a certain rustic Watteau-like grace. The face of the performer was no longer distorted by inflating the bag; for the long cumbersome drones was substituted a short barrel droner, containing the necessary lengths of tubing for four or five drones, reduced to the smallest and most compact form. The bores were pierced longitudinally through the thickness of the wood in parallel channels, communicating with each other in twos or threes and providing the requisite length for each drone. The reeds were double "hautbois" reeds all set in a wooden stock or box within the bag; by means of regulators or slides, called layettes, moving up and down in longitudinal grooves round the circumference of the barrel, the length of the drone pipes could be so regulated that a simple harmonic bass, consisting mainly of the common chord, could be obtained. The chaunter, of narrow cylindrical bore, was also furnished with a double reed and had eleven holes, four of which had keys, giving a compass of twelve notes from F to C. This number of holes was not invariable. After Mersenne's time, Jean Hotteterre (d. 1678), a court musician, belonging to the band known as the Musique de la Grande écurie, in which he played the dessus de hautbois, introduced certain improvements in the drones of the musette. His son Martin Hotteterre (d. 1712) added a second chaunter to the musette, shorter than the first, to which it was attached instead of being inserted into the stock. The Hotteterre chaunter, known as le petit chalumeau, had six keys, whereas the grand chalumeau had seven, besides eight finger-holes and a vent-hole in the bell. All these keys were actuated by the little finger of the left hand and the thumb of the right hand, which were not required to stop holes on the large chaunter.
The grand and petit chalumeaux are figured in detail with keys and holes in a rare and anonymous work by Borjon (or Bourgeon), who gives much interesting information concerning one of the most popular instruments of his day. The bellows, he states, borrowed from the organ, were added to the musette about forty or fifty years before he wrote his treatise. The compass of the improved musette of Hotteterre was as shown: -
the eight holes of the grand chalumeau.
the seven keys of the grand chalumeau.
the six keys of the petit chalumeau.
The four or five drones were usually tuned thus:
The chaunters and drones were pierced with a very narrow cylindrical bore, and double reeds were used throughout, causing them to speak as closed pipes, which accounts for the deep pitch of these relatively short pipes (see Aulos). Martin Hotteterre was hardly the first to introduce the second chaunter for the bag-pipe, since Praetorius in 1618 figures and describes the Magdeburg sackpfeife with two chaunters, but without keys and with a conical bore.
The surdelina or sampogna is described and illustrated by Mersenne as the musette de Naples; its construction was very complicated. Mersenne states that the instrument was invented by Jean Baptiste Riva (who was living in Paris in 1620), Dom Julio and Vincenze; but Mersenne seems to have made alterations himself in the original instrument, which are not very clearly explained. There were two chaunters with narrow cylindrical bore and having both finger-holes and keys; and two drones each having ten keys. The four pipes were fixed in the same stock, and double reeds were used throughout; the bag was inflated by means of bellows. Passenti of Venice published a collection of melodies for the zampogna in 1628, under the title of Canora Zampogna.
The modern Lowland bag-pipe differs from the Highland bag-pipe mainly in that it is blown by bellows instead of by the mouth.
The Northumbrian or Border bag-pipe, also blown by means of bellows, is chiefly distinguished by having a chaunter stopped at the lower end so that when all the holes are closed, the pipe is silent. There are seven finger-holes, one for the thumb, and a varying number of keys. The four drones are fixed in one stock and are tuned by means of stoppers, so that, as in the musette, any one of them may be silenced. A fine Northumbrian bag-pipe from the collection of the Rev. F. W. Galpin is illustrated (fig. 1. (5)).
The union pipes of the 18th century, or modern Irish bag-pipe, blown by bellows (see fig. 1. (2)), had one chaunter with seven finger-holes, one thumb-hole and eight keys, which together gave the chromatic scale in two octaves. The drones were tuned to A in different octaves, and three regulators or drones with keys, played by the elbow, produced a kind of harmony; the regulators correspond to the sliders on the drone-barrel of the musette.