One of the first people who began to use this instrument, were the Thracians. They replased the horn with e piece of wood – drone and they made some mare innovations like bass – drone and mouthpiece. In ancient Egypt they also used bagpipe with or without bass – drone. In the beginning of the first millennium BC the proto – Bulgarians also began one of the general instruments in the lands of Old (Volga) Bulgaria. The Celts, the Druids and the Rusi tribes also took this instrument from them. In later times the bagpipe was carried into the territory of today’s Bulgaria.
Gaida (bagpipe) is a favorite instrument close to the life and the spirits of the Bulgarians. The main sounding part is the Gaidunitsa (chanter). It has 8 holes and produces the melody. The other part is the Rouchilo (drone).The drone’s sound is constant and accompanies the melody. The other parts of the Gaida are the Bag and the Mouthpiece. There are two types of Bulgarian Gaidas: Djura and Kaba. The Djura Gaida has a smaller size and sounds high and sharp.
The Kaba Gaida is a low pitched bagpipe which can be found in the Rhodope mountains in Bulgaria. It is a typical representative of the Gaida family and possesses all the characteristics - single drone, wooden chanter, flea hole, goat skin bag and a tube reed from elder, cane with a tongue, tight fingering style (each note is played by lifting only one finger). 60 years ago, the Kaba Gaida was not much different from the other gaidas (called Djura) in the region - high pitched, round chanters with horn at the end. Before 1961 there were mostly F to G kaba gaidas. After that year, appeared E and D kaba gaidas because of the rise of the amateur bands and the very famous ensemble “100 Kaba Gaidi”. Also, females choirs appeared which needed lower pitched gaidas. The horn on the Kaba Gaida was replaced by a curve at the end of the chanter and it was removed on the Djura Gaida.
Gaida players have developed special techniques to overcome what might be considered the limitations of the instrument. First of all, they use the ‘flea-hole’, a distinctive organological element of many Eastern European bagpipes, which consists of a small tube, usually made of a hen’s feather, slotted into hole I. The flea- hole is an important component of the gaida’s playing technique, since it affects the way holes I and e (the thumb-hole, which is opposite to I) act. For a given fingering, by uncovering the flea-hole, an interval of a second above the note originally sounded is produced. The size of that interval depends on the original note. The higher the note, the smaller is the second.