Bagpipes - Dudy

Bagpipes in the United States

On this site we would like to present collection and work from Czech-American Michael Cwach who is a bagpiper and musician now living in South Bohemia. He was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to pursue his study of Bohemian bagpipe traditions of the Czech Lands.

Bagpipes ("dudy" in Czech) are generally associated with the Celtic Fringe of Europe, but one of the richest and most ethnically diverse bagpipe traditions can be found in Central Europe. In the Czech Lands and in neighboring Bavaria this tradition once became marginalized and almost disregarded.


Watch Czech bagpipes at National Czech and Slovak Museum

 Listen the online interview with Michael for Czech Radio Proglas here 

Dissertation work: The pukl and Chodsko

Michael Cwach is also an author of dissertation work dedicated to the topic: The pukl and Chodsko-Aspects of linkage between a bagpipe and an ethnographic region.

The pukl, commonly called dudy, is a bellow-blown bagpipe whose origin and development can be traced to older forms known as grosser Bock and polnischer Bock. The instrument is an important feature in the identity of Chodsko, an ethonographic region of West Bohemia. This thesis shows the significance of the pukl in Chodish tradition through its organology, pedagogy, performance practice, and history. Through the novel Psohlavci, Alois Jirásek offered a footing for reinforcement of Chodish traditions. The thesis argues that a succession of makers, performers, teachers, institutions, and events have woven a web of tradition in which the pukl holds a significant position. Supporting evidence is shown from artworks that are visible to the public as well as decoration on the instrument. Selected from the Chodish canon, the beloved song, ‘Zelený hájové’, illustrates the use of the dialect and ornamentation as being indicative of the region. Two DVDs, The Call of Dudy and Zelený Hájové …, and a glossary of Chodish terms together with a catalogue of field recordings are included.

Feel free to download the original dissertation here.