Bombarde in Bb
Hervieux et Glet
Le Val, 56350 Rieux, Brittany, FRANCE
Tel +33 2 99 91 90 68

In the late nineteenth century, Scottish highland pipes began to be used in Brittany and were ultimately paired with the bombarde. After World War II, Bretons began to form pipe and drum corps—bagad in Breton—along the lines of Scottish military pipe bands. The bombarde was added to these grand ensembles and was afforded equal status with the bagpipe. Typically a bagad includes eight highland bagpipers, eight bombardes, four snare drums, two tenor drums and one bass drum. Bagadoù (pl.) typically wear niforms of traditional Breton vest and pants and do not, as a rule, march in military fashion. Bagadoù often perform at traditional dances and festivals, but the top rated ensembles such as Bagad Kemper, Bagad Cap Caval and Bagad Roñsed-Mor continually push the envelope of traditional Breton music, often performing arrangements and compositions which could be easily classified as avant-garde.

This particular bombarde is of the type used in modern Bagadoù. It is in the key of Bb, which matches that of the great highland bagpipe. It does not, however, match all the notes of the highland pipe as the bottom note is A whereas the highland pipe is Ab on the last note. I bought it from John Delaney, a fellow flute player and former band mate who commissioned it from Hervieux et Glet in 1995.

Larry Rone

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