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date: 14 November 2019


  • Sylvia Moore
  • , revised by Anna Borg-Cardona


Maltese mouth-blown Bagpipe. The bag is traditionally made of calf, goat, or dog skin, with the hair exposed. The blowpipe (mserka), made of cane or rubber and without a valve, is tied into a foreleg. The double chanter (saqqafa), inserted into the neck, has two downcut idioglot single reeds. The cane pipes, the left one having five fingerholes and the right having one fingerhole, are set into a cane yoke. The bell is usually a decorated ox horn with a serrated rim.

The żaqq is traditionally played at Christmas, Carnival, and L-Imnarja, the feast day of St Peter and St Paul, celebrating the end of harvest. The player uses a series of motifs and variations repeated in various combinations. Rhythmic accompaniment is provided by the tanbur (tambourine) and in Carnival by the rabbaba or żafżafa (friction drum).

J.K. Partridge and F. Jeal: ‘The Maltese żaqq’, ...

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