Bagpipes or kobza?

What is the difference between bagpipes and kobza pipes?

People often think these two instruments are the same but, in fact, they differ in practically all aspects. For one thing, they belong to two separate groups. Bagpipes, also popular in Poland, are wind instruments made of leather and wooden/osseous elements, whereas the kobza is a string instrument similar to a lute.
What is interesting is that this mistake frequently lingers on in iconography where one may find images of highlanders with bagpipes described as portraits of kobza pipers in regional outfits.
Below there are several examples of photographs of pipers, including Stanisław Gąsienica-Gładczan whose instrument is in the collection from Małopolska’s Virtual Museums.


Stanisław Budz-Lepsiok, also called Mróz, 
a bagpipe player. Situational photo (playing the
bagpipes in a regional costume), 1930, photo
from the National Digital Archives,
reference no. 1-F-257-1

Stanisław Gąsienica-Gładczan, bagpipe
player, 1921–1925, photo studio:
T. i St. Zwoliński Wytwórnia fotografji
tatrzańskich, Zakopane, photo from the
National Digital Archives,
reference no. 1-F-270


Elaborated by Anna Berestecka (Editorial team of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums),
Licencja Creative Commons

 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland License.