Hornpipe (musical instrument)

Hornpipe (musical instrument)

Ask a question about 'Hornpipe (musical instrument)'
Start a new discussion about 'Hornpipe (musical instrument)'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum

The hornpipe can refer to a specific instrument or a class of woodwind instrument
Woodwind instrument
A woodwind instrument is a musical instrument which produces sound when the player blows air against a sharp edge or through a reed, causing the air within its resonator to vibrate...

s consisting of a single reed, a small diameter melody pipe with finger holes and a bell traditionally made from animal horn. Additionally, a reed cap of animal horn may be placed around the reed to contain the breath and allow circular breathing
Circular breathing
Circular breathing is a technique used by players of some wind instruments to produce a continuous tone without interruption. This is accomplished by breathing in through the nose while simultaneously pushing air out through the mouth using air stored in the cheeks.It is used extensively in playing...

 for constant play, although in many cases the reed is placed directly in the mouth. It was also known as the pibcorn, pibgorn
Pibgorn (instrument)
The pibgorn is a Welsh species of idioglot reed aerophone. The name translates literally as "pipe-horn". It is also historically known as cornicyll. It utilises a single reed , cut from elder or reed , like that found in the drone of a bagpipe, being the ancestor of the modern clarinet reed...

, or piccorn. One rare Scottish example, called the stock-and-horn
The stock-and-horn was a traditional instrument of the Scottish peasantry, very similar to the Welsh pibgorn, consisting of a single-reed reed pipe amplified by a bell made of horn...

is referred to by Robert Burns
Robert Burns
Robert Burns was a Scottish poet and a lyricist. He is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland, and is celebrated worldwide...

 among others. Other hornpipes include the Spanish gaita gastoreña
Gaita gastoreña
The gaita gastoreña is a type of hornpipe native to El Gastor, a region of Andalucia, Spain. It consists of a simple reed, a wooden tube in its upper part, and a resonating bell of horn in its lower part. Such instruments are only found outside El Gastor in Madrid and in the Basque Country...

, the Basque alboka
The alboka is a double hornpipe or clarinet native to the Basque Country.Although the alboka is a woodwind instrument, its name is derived from the Arabic "al-bûq"...

and the Russian zhaleika
The zhaleika is a Russian single-reed hornpipe. It is the most popular Russian folk wind instrument.-External links:*...

. When joined with a bag, Baines refers to the instruments as "bag-hornpipes".


The traditional hornpipe has one or two narrow internal bores between 4mm and 12mm each, with one or two idioglot single-reeds respectively, similar to the bagpipe drone reed, which is sometimes surrounded by a cap made of horn or wood which is sealed with the players lips. The melody pipe(s) can have between 5 (pentatonic) and 8 finger holes (one of which may be a thumb hole) giving a first register range of up to an octave plus a note. The bell is shaped from a section of horn, wood or sometimes rolled bark, and may have tuning holes or decorative work. This class of instrument comprises the ancient predecessors to our modern cylindrically bored reed instruments, such as the clarinet.

External links