Discovering the Birbynė

         An authentic Lithuanian woodwind instrument birbynė, better known as hornpipe, originally comes from Lithuania. Its name originates from the word buzz – pipe or blow. It is believed the first prototypes of the instrument called “the first type and second type of birbynė” could appear in the Stone Age. For the first time this type of instrument was mentioned as surma in the Psalter by J. Bretkūnas-Rėza in 1625. The term birbynė was first found in Lithuanian-German-Lithuanian Dictionary compiled by P. Ruigys (1747).

      Soprano birbynė has a wide dynamic range and its timber is extremely flexible. Depending on the artist’s technique, creativity and repertoire, the instrument can sound like an oboe, early cornetto, flute, clarinet, or even a trumpet! In its appearance and some specific internals birbynė can be compared to the predecessor of clarinet chalumeau.

"Birbynė, traditional Lithuanian hornpipe"

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