Bagpipes - Nitra

Detail view
Wild rose wood
Comparison double
and tripple chanter
Two versions
Simple style

In the rural country around the city of Nitra, three- and four-voice bagpipes were widely used untill the end of World War II. In the three-voice variety, the chanter – gajdica – has two bores. The right one – hucik – has one fingerhole (kontra). It plays low fourth when covered (with right hand's ring finger), and the tonic when open. Abeceda, the melody pipe on the left side has 5 fingerholes in front and a thumbhole on the rear. Four-voice pipes have one more bore in the chanter. It is short and has only one hole for the top hand's thumb. It plays octave, which can be thus tuned very accurately. This setup enables special gracing style, in which the three chanter's voices are employed in strongly accented rhythmical patterns. The four-voice bagpipe became famous as an instrument of Jozef Antalik, the legendary virtuoso piper.

Both types can have the melody pipe open or closed at the end. The closed one emits no sound when all its fingerholes are covered, being stopped at the end with a small wooden plug. This feature emphasizes the staccato effect of the local piping style. The open melody pipe plays tonic when the holes are covered. It sounds more fluently, and with the same reeds it is louder.

Gajdica is usualy placed in an angled stock, carved in a shape of a goat's head (kozicka), rarely in a shape of human or devil's head, or in a simple stock (klatka).

The drone – huk – has three adjustable parts – stavce – and plays two octaves lower from the chanter's tonic.

The resonating bells of both chanter and drone can be funnel-like trachtare rolled from a brass sheet, or cow horns as well. However, simple wooden piece (konik) with a carved animal figure (horse, sheep, cock) is often used instead of chanter's bell.

The most common pitch is between g and a.

• simple – no adornments, cherry wood, copper rings, leather bag:
simple chanter stock, chanter with konik, drone with cowhorn or brass bell – 400 euro
simple chanter stock, chanter and drone with cowhorn or brass bells – 430 euro
goathead chanter stock, chanter with konik, drone with cowhorn or brass bell – 460 euro
goathead chanter stock, chanter and drone with cowhorn or brass bells – 500 euro
• simple adornments – copper or brass rings with engraved ornaments, „mirror“ on the goathead stock, drone parts decoratively turned, woods cherry, apricot, pear, plum + 50 euro
• fully decorated – as above, plus goathead stock with metal, bone and horn intarsions, darkest plum wood, bag covered in velvet and brocate coat + 200 euro
• pewter inlay – woods pear, plum + 300 euro