Phagotum (front)

Phagotum (rear)

Reconstructions: The Phagotum

A most unusual and complex bagpipe from the early 16th Century.

It was invented by Canon of the church, one Afranio degli Albonesi of Pavia in the country of Pannonia (part of modern Yugoslavia) who based it upon the local bagpipe, the Piva.

It was designed to be played for "Divine Hymns and Psalms" and not for amatory melodies.

Although no examples of the actual instrument have survived to the present day there is a description of the instrument and the history of its invention together with front and rear views. More importantly an instruction sheet for playing the Phagotum and showing the scale of each pipe and pitch were discovered during the closing years of the 19th century.

These were translated from the original Latin text by the late Canon Galpin and published in the Proceedings of the Musical Association under the title "Romance of the Phagotum".

There have been several attempts at reviving the instrument, the first being by W A Cocks whose basic model was built during the early 1960's can be viewed in the Morpeth Chantry Museum, Northumberland, U.K.

In the mid 1970's I produced an prototype / experimental model the data from which was used to build the low pitched Great Bock after the illustrations in Praetorius'

It is hoped in the near future to build a more "lifelike " version and if you are interested please let me know and I will tell you at what stage the prototype is.

Instructions for playing the Phagotum, 1565


Box or fruitwood with mounts and keywork of nickel silver.