gaita and gajda - Musings on a Strange History of Names


Anyone interested in bagpipes and their cultural distribution throughout the world has probably at least once raised an eyebrow over a strange similarity of names: In Western Europe we find the various types of gaitas in Spain and Portugal, whereas the Balkans show different kinds of gajda (throughout the article I will use this spelling in order to denote the numerous variants). Naturally, this intriguing similarity has called on the attention of scholars every now and then – however, the outcome has not quite been satisfying, as I will show.

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