Gaida information

During archaeological excavation in Southwest Asia, remains of the prototype of the bagpipe was found, the so called ‘’Fejimyo’’. The device was simple – leather with a horn bound to it. The analisys showed that it was over 6000 years old. Later on, a reed gag (piskun) was added to the horn and thus the prototype of the nowadays bagpipe born.

One of the first people who began to use this instrument, were the Thracians. They replased the horn with e piece of wood – drone and they made some mare innovations like bass – drone and mouthpiece. In ancient Egypt they also used bagpipe with or without bass – drone. In the beginning of the first millennium BC the proto – Bulgarians also began one of the general instruments in the lands of Old ( Volga ) Bulgaria. The Celts, the Druids and the Rusi tribes also took this instrument from them. In later times the bagpipe was carried into the territory of today’s Bulgaria.

Today’s Bulgarian bagpipe, is an instrument with lots of potentialities in orchestra as well as independently in accompaniment with songs, rituals, etc. Currently, two main types of bagpipes are established – kaba and dzvura. The kaba bagpipe, is an instrument with an unique sound and it is also self – sufficient instrument used mainly in the Rhodope mountain accompanying the famous Rhodopean songs based on the pentatonic scale. It is also compatible in combination with other instruments, as support in horo tunes, etc. It is characterized with powerful full – toned sound with low diapason, but smooth and pleasing to the ear. Its modification is the dvoyanka, which sound is restored by Svetllyo Zhilev. It has more complicated, polyphonic sound, based on the diatonic scale. In appropriate acoustic environment this instrument sounds. Like several bagpipes.

The dzvura bagpipe is mainly solo instrument, typical of almost entire Bulgaria, as it is most widely used in Strandzha. It has high sound timbre, powerful, sometimes squeaky, with possibilities for various glides ( melisms ). The dzhura, just like the kaba bagpipe can successfully be included in instrumental tunes, symphonic poems, jazz, rock and two main schools for the dzhura bagpipe established – the Trachian ( Malaysian ) and the Strandzhan. There is also dzhura dvoyanka bagpipe, based on the chorus, like the kaba dvoyanka bagpipe.

In the contemporary world, there are over 160 types of bagpipes, as ours is in Top 5 of the chart and me. Bulgarian people, can rightly be proud of that. Other good bagpipes are the Hungarian modification of the Scotish bagpipe, the Turcish tulum, some French and Spanish models, ets. But neither one of them can represent as successful analogue of the major modifications of the compound meter Bulgarian dances. as our bagpipe. Celtic tunes, classical tunes, etc. can be performed with Bulgarian bagpipe as for the other modifications this is almost unachievable. That is why we have to estimate and develop this great instrument, inherited from our forefathers!

The last available information about the dvoyanka gaida dates back to the late 19th century after which it disappears for several decades. Currently the only “awakened” and actively played on instrument of this types has been Svetlyo Zhilev’ dvoyanka. It is quite likely that there are a few other gaidunici chifte (or double chanters) as they are colloquially called, which, however, are “unawakened” museum exhibits. Having toiled unremittingly for a year to restore the chanter and the drone in the period 2003 – 2004, one early morning about 3 a.m .Svetlyo’s hard work was finally rewarded – there came the ultimate sound of the gaida, the so called alogical polyphonic sound of the dvoyanka. It is truly embodied in the album Marmoreal Apparitions and entirely based on the orgelpunkt (pedal point) diatonic thanks to this fantastic instrument. It comes up in Wild Stories, Rodoping and Gaida Prayer alike. Here are some of the characteristics of the gaida:

  1. Rich sound with all possible overtones in the working range of pitches (usually D – E – B).
  2. Has the chorus effect – a tone is ahead of another by 50ms thus making a relatively large number of combinations between tones possible.
  3. The classical kaba-gaida is an instrument entirely dependent on the acoustic environment whereas the dvoyanka is relatively unaffected by it.
  4. Suitable for orgelpunkt diatonic accompaniment, whether a song or dance. The pentatonic mode here transitions smoothly into the more complex diatonic one.