Zampogna is a generic term for a number of Italian double chantered pipes (“bagpipes”) that can be found as far north as the southern part of the Marche, throughout areas in Abruzzo, Latium, Molise, Basilicata, Campania, Calabria, and Sicily. The tradition is now mostly associated with Christmas, and the most famous Italian carol, “Tu scendi dalle stelle” (You Come Down From the Stars) is derived from traditional zampogna music. However, there is an ongoing resurgence of the instrument in secular use seen with the increasing number of folk music festivals and folk music ensembles.

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Playing with friends: Stefano Torre (Domo Emigrantes) and his zampogna (sicilian bagpipe)


Source: Best of Sicily Magazine

Musical instruments of this kind (aerophones) were probably known to the ancient Greeks and Romans, and since the Middle Ages bagpipes have been played across Europe and into the Caucasus, Persian Gulf and northern Africa. Chaucer mentioned bagpipes in the fourteenth century.

To function, a bagpipe must, at the very least, have an air supply, a bag, a blowpipe and a chanter; it usually includes one or more drones. The bag is made from the skins of sheep, goats or cattle. Resembling a horn, the chanter is the melody pipe with a reed. The drone, which resembles a flute, is another pipe with a reed.

Compared to the typical Scots pipes, in which the tubes are inserted into the bag individually (though near each other), in most Sicilian ones the chanter and drones all emanate from a single, hollow wooden “plug” attached to the bag. As the sound results from a more-or-less uniform airflow toward and through the plug, it differs very slightly from that of the Scots pipes. The design also influences playing technique.