The shepherd's pipe is a popular Balkan folk musical instrument. It is a wooden wind instrument that is composed of three parts – “eclemeta”.
The shepherd's pipe has the following registers: high – sounds bright and clear, medium – tender and warm, and low – called also “kaba”, sounds dense and with a great sound thickness.
In Bulgaria, the shepherd's pipe is one of the most widespread and favorite folk instruments, often praised in many folk songs .
The bagpipe is a wind folk musical instrument, which, as the name implies, also has a bag. It has existed since the ancient cultures of the Asian slavery societies. It is most widespread in India.
The parts of the bagpipe are: Drone - a wooden, cylindrical pipe 20 – 35 cm long, with 8 cylindrical finger apertures. The upper side has a plug for insertion in the bag and this is where a reed piece (squeaker) from a single plate is placed. The tonal volume of one drone is 9 tones, that is why there are drones with various constructions. The bag is a skin air reservoir, made from processed goat skin, to which the hubs for inserting the drone, the mouthpiece and another drone are attached. The hubs are wooden or horn plugs for connecting the bag with the drones and the mouthpiece. The mouthpiece – a wooden or horn pipe attached to one of the hubs serves for blowing air in the bag, Drone – a cylindrical triple tube with a length of 50 cm., attached to one of the hubs by means of a squeaker, performs an accompanying iso tone.
According to the system, the pipes are: High “Dzhura” and low – “Kaba”.
The zourla is encountered mostly in the dual voice regions - in the Pirin area, partially in the Eastern Rhodopi and in only a few villages in Eastern Bulgaria. In Southwestern Bulgaria, two zourlas always play together – the one carries the main tune and the other – a constant bourdon tone and very rarely plays together with the other one. A drum always accompanies the zourlas.
After the shepherd's pipe and the rebeck, the bagpipe is the most popular folk instrument in Bulgaria. It is encountered is all ethnographical regions of the country. The best bagpipe schools can be found in Southern Bulgaria – Thracia and Strandja, and in Northeastern Bulgaria – Ludogorieto (Deliormana) and Dobrudja. A widespread bagpipe in Rhodopi is the so-called “caba”-bagpipe, which is characterized by its low sound. In Bulgaria the bagpipe is used, on the one hand, as a solo instrument, and on the other hand – to accompany folk singers (especially in the Rhodopi region, sometimes with two or more bagpipes) and in an orchestra of folk instruments together with the shepher'd pipes, rebecks, mandolins, etc. .
The zourla is an instrument used in Bulgaria only by the Roma minority. In the past, the zourla was crafted manually, but in the last few yeas it is made on a lathe. It consists of the following parts – a body of hard wood – a cherry, cornel-tree or apricot. Its form is cylindrical with a slight expansion at the bottom of the body, similar to that of the clarinet, and on the back part there is another extension for the thumb. The expansion at the lower part is also usually accompanied by other five apertures, which have the same function as in the shepherd's pipe. They are also called “the devil's holes”. While the zourla is played, “the devil's holes” are never fully closed by the fingers. An additional part called “bashlak” is placed on the upper part of the body. Over it, a small copper tube is placed, called “spool” on top of which specially selected “triggers” called “rush” are placed.
The wooden pipe is a wooden wind folk instrument, similar to the whistle by its size and order. The difference between them is the nozzle, which in the wooden pipe is round with a small plug, and in the whistle it is cone-shaped, also with a plug. Widespread in Northern Bulgaria .
The ocarina is spread in Northwestern Bulgaria and is often encountered in a duet with a whistle, shepherd's pipe, rebeck or a doublet. It is made of clay, with an oval shape and with various sizes.
The drum is familiar since the times of the proto-Bulgarian tribes. It appears during the 2-nd century AD. At that time, the proto-Bulgarian tribes migrate from Middle Asia to the Balkan Peninsula. They reach the Caspian Sea and settle in the lands between the Caspian and the Black Sea. The drum has endured during the centuries and today it is one of the most attractive folklore instruments in this region. The drum is a wooden cylindrical body with a diameter from 30 to 60 cm and height from 25 to to cm, the openings of which are covered with stre t ched skin. There are wooden circles on top of them, which, by means of a zigzagging rope that passes through them, tighten or release the skins. The drum is placed, via a strap, on the left or right shoulder, so that it hangs in front of the performer at the height of his weight. The instrument is played with two sticks. One of them is thicker, crooked at both ends – called “kiak”. The other one is thin, about 40 cm long, made of tough wood – usually cornel-tree.