Bagpipe (or simply pipe) is not a widespread instrument. It is known only in Europe, Asia and Northern America. Scottish and Irish people are also since long time are playing this instrument. It is thought that a bagpipe was brought to those places by Celts which have arrived from the Little Asia. To another countries pipe has arrived significantly later.

It considered that a bagpipe was invented by Greeks in the Little Asia. The description by Roman Empire chronicler Svetonius: The Emperor Nero at the end of his life has sworn: “If I will keep my power, then while marking this victory I will play with leather made bag during the Games”.

The Greek writer Dion Chrizostomus writes, that Nero was blowing a hornpipe not with his mouth, but underlying a bag under his armpit.

A bagpipe was spreading only to India, because, according to the historical sources, the Macedonian has travelled only to India, therefore exactly in this country is marked the boundary of a bagpipe occurrence.


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A bagpipe in Lithuania for the first time is mentioned in the writing by Swedish historian Magnus Olaus “The history of the Northern nations”, released in 1555. In the same year within the letter by the duke Žygimantas of the Lithuanian Grand Duchy intended for the foreman priest of Orsha A.Onincevich are mentioned “pipers, bear trainers, who must be rated”. In 1565 the instrument is mentioned within the decrees of Vilnius Sejm. In the small dictionary by the translation of Bible (1580) is written that “pipe is made of horn” or “murenka”, which is translation from the German word “sakpfaife”.

Later Pratorius (around 1698) mentions a bagpipe and inserts an illustration with musician, who “accompanies the dance of hajduk with the bagpipe of two burdons” (17th century). Recesus generalis (visit in the surroundings of Estenburg) was pronouncing that “before service are arriving participants of a wedding party and making a noise with pipes and drums disturb a worship. Therefore pipes must be broken, drums holed to avoid this to happen again”…

During the times of Catherine II of Russia the beggars who were spending their time in the market squares were prohibited to play pipes, fancied by beggars and wanderers. The prohibitions have influenced by some way the decay of the instrument.

Recesus generalis ( vizitacija estenburgo apylinkės) "prieš pamaldas renkasi vestuvininkai ir dūdomis ir būgnais trukdo pamaldas".Todėl reikia dūdas sulaužyt būgnus prakiurdyt, kad daugiau to nebūtų"

About a bagpipe are also writing the collectors of folklore facts Antanas and Jonas Juškos. “From a green bag he has sewed a pipe for himself” (1532 Juškos, Alsėdžiai).

within the letter by the duke Žygimantas of the Lithuanian Grand Duchy intended for the foreman priest of Orsha A.Onincevich are mentioned pipers bear trainers who must be taxed: they first must pay magistrate and then play” (1555).

Bear trainers (musicians, who are playing pipes) are also mentioned later as men who are dancing bears according to the pipe melodies.

In the 19th century bagpipe is called “Russian pipe”, because already in () () province was situated near the board of Belorussia, in the district of Švenčionys, Ašmena. Recently Ašmena belongs to Belorussia (Smargonys, Gervėčiai)

Around all Grodno province on Sundays and holidays could be heard a pipe music (especially in inns), like happy minded bear roar. It was a sound of Russian pipe leather bag, made of calf stomach with two wooden pipes.


The name

The term “bagpipe” is translation from... It could be seen that even in English and German it could sound as “pipe from bag”.

In Latvia and by Juškos is mentioned another name - soma.

In Lithuania pipe was called variously: hoot, sack, murenka, kūlinė, kūlinė pipe, pipe of Labanoras, horn pipe.

The terms pipe, blowing a pipe are spread not only around Lithuania, but also in Poland, Czech. Same a called musicians, playing with bagpipe. Linguist derive the surname Dūda, Dūdos from the term “the one playing with pipe or bagpipe”. For example: „Here, Dūda walks“.


Bagpipe in folklore

In the folk songs the instrument is called “horn pipe”: “Play, horn pipe, dance, lily girl” (SD669). Or can be called “copper pipe”: “Gnash, copper pipe, dance, lily girl”. In the folk songs are mentioned the parts of pipe:

“Piper has little work to do
In one hand he holds horn pipe
In another hand a copper pipe”.


A copper pipe in hand
Nebula in another (Melagėnai district)

In the children songs:

„Dūli dūli a pipe, šaninkelia pipe
In that pipe is nebula
A boy tribukas“.

Within the games texts are named the sequence of pipe making:

„I will give Peter a bowl of beans,
Let he blogs stongly a pipe.
Tyr lyr pipe pipe.
I will ask Belorussian Jonas
Let he start to make a pipe.
Let he install a pipe“.

In the Samogitian songs is mentioned: „From a green bag he has sewed himself a pipe“. 1532, Alsėdžiai.

In the vocal games is imitated a pipe: “There was a pipe in Vilnius”. In one version of this piece are mentioned two pipes: “I will buy a pipe to myself, pipe pipe in Vilnius, a reed in the surrounding of Vilnius”.

In the songs is mentioned a pipe together with other instruments:

“I am going across a town without three rejoicings
Piper, violins, cembalo- these are three rejoicings for me”.
Dūdos skripkos ir cimbolai tai man trys linksmybėsExpressions about bear trainers: “Bear has died, throw your pipes away too”. About stout, fat person or fat wallet is said “swollen as bagpipe”. VD LLD Nr29LTR201(20)