Articles by: Vereno, Michael Peter

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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Bagpipes in Austria - A Story of Diversity Jul 2016 in Chanter 2016 Summer

Austria is known throughout the world mostly for the music of Wolfgang A. Mozart, “Silent Night” and “The Sound of Music” (although I have to reveal at this point that hardly anyone has seen the film here). Little is it known to most bagpipers in the world that Austria, too, has had and continues to have a story of piping, and an interesting one at that. The Austria the world knows today is actually a quite young country and consists of only a small part of what was once the Habsburg Empire (which throughout history was commonly labelled as “Austria”) and thus part of the greater Holy Roman Empire.

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Die Stimme des Windes Michael Peter Vereno. 2015. Hamburg: Baar-Verlag. 240 pages. ISBN: 978-3-935536-76-9 Editor’s Note: Thank to The Journal of Folklore Research Reviews who very kindly gave me permission to reprint this review which first appeared in September 2017. The subject matter of Die Stimme des Windes: Sprachliches zur Geschichte der Sackpfeife (The Voice of the Wind: A Linguistic History of the Bagpipe) might seem to be of limited interest to folklorists and ethnomusicologists, except perhaps for those narrowly focused on organology, but it addresses a serious and pervasive deficiency in how the field applies linguistic evidence to historic studies.

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