The Bagpipe Society

Guide to the Cabrette

Cabrette en Do

The Cabrette is a bellows blown instrument, closely associated with the Auvergne region of France and late 19th century Paris. In common with many french bagpipes, there is a drone which is connected, via a common stock, in parallel to the chanter. This drone plays the “six finger” note, but in practice is seldom used. There is no bass drone. The cabrette is unique in that the chanter/drone system is easily exchanged to allow the piper to play in different keys without needing another bag. The range of the chanter is an octave and one or two notes in the upper register. The chanter is virtually chromatic, by the use of cross fingering. The lack of a drone is compensated to some extent by the style of playing, where frequent repetitions of the fundamental note gives the impression of a continuous drone. This takes skill.

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