Sobre la gaita




Gaitas in the Iberian Peninsula

Tras-os-Montes, León and Zamora; gaita leonesa, sanabresa, cabreiresa and alistana

Tras-os-Montes, literally, means beyond the mountains and is a rural of high ground and deep ravines in the north-east of Portugal and was historically part of Galicia until the twelfth century. The bagpipe of this region known as the Gaita de Foles has a very characteristic sound due to the way in which the chanter is traditionally tuned.
Like the famous Scottish instrument the gaita-de-fole uses two different types of reeds: a single reed (clarinet type) and a double reed (oboe type). The single reed is placed in the long tube (drone) with a cylindrical bore that plays only one bass note. The melody pipe (chanter) has a conical bore and is equipped with the double reed. These reeds are traditionally made from cane (Arundo donax) but can also be fashioned from elder wood, bamboo or plastic. The bag is normally a whole skin of a goat or sheep
In Portugal there are a few different versions of the bagpipe. In the most remote regions of Trás-os-Montes these instruments were handmade by local players, most of them shepherds. Because of this, they are not standardized. The tunings also vary but most of the times are modal, slightly minor at the bottom and almost major at the top. The same modes are found in the oral tradition of the region. In the coastal areas from Minho province to Lisbon, the bagpipes tend to be either imports from Galicia
Gaita transmontana Gaita trasmontana