Pipe and Tabor Worldwide

Iberian Peninsula

The pipe and tabor appears in various guises throughout the Iberian Peninsular, and has a number of names, e.g flauta y tamboril, txistu, txirula, and flabiol y bombo

Juanma Sanchez Bueno playing la flauta y el tamboril at IPATF 2002

Flabiol y Bombo

Teresa Soler and Rafel Mitjans playing flabiol y bombo at the Festa del Flabiolaires in Arbucies

Flabiolaires have a long history in Catalunya and Mallorca. Their tradition was constrained during the Franco period but, like English Tabor Pipe, has seen major growth in the late 20th Century.


Like the English Taborer, the Flabiolaire also plays for processions and dance, including the Bal de Baston. The Flabiol has five holes on the top of the pipe and two below. This gives the instrument great flexibility but requires great dexterity. A video from the Catalan Flabiol Festival in Arbucies can be seen on YouTube.

Basque Txistu
The Basque region on the borders of Spain and France have several mountain tabor pipe traditions, but the dominant form – the txistu – and the players – the txistulari – have become an expression of Basque identity.

Banda de Txistularis Municipal de Pamplona playing at IPATF 2001

Often played in consorts, the Txistu is a three hole pipe, with the intervals of Tone, Semitone and Tone (TST).

Michel Etxekopar playing Txirula and Txun Txun at Xiru 2010 Photo S.Rowley

The txirula is closely related to the txistu and is often played with the string drum (Txun txun).  Also from the Basque region, but more popular in the northern area.

Pipe and Tabor traditions in NE Portugal

Click here for an article on NE Portugal

Provence Galoubet
In the Provence region of France, there is a strong folk tradition of the Galoubet et Tambourin. The Galoubet is also a three hole pipe but with intervals of Tone, Tone, Tone (TTT). The Tambourin is a very deep instrument with a resounding tone and distinctive snare.

Maurice Guis. Galoubet et Tambourin. Playing at IPATF 2000

In addition to music for folk dance, the Galoubet also has a notable parlour music repertoire.

Not strictly a Pipe and Tabor tradition, the Fujara is an overtone instrument, albeit a very long one. This Slovakian instrument can best be described as somewhere between a Tabor Pipe and a Didgeridoo. It has a mysterious tone and is quite unique. The length of the instrument makes playing in the usual manner impossible, so an extra length of pipe is included to take the breath from the mouthpiece up to the top of the pipe.

Karol Kocik playing the Fujara at IPATF 2010

Central & South American Traditions
The Pipe and Tabor was introduced to Central and Southern America by the Spanish. It has become assimilated into many different traditions and cultures throughout the region.