The żaqq (with definite article: iż-żaqq) is the most common form of Maltese bagpipes.


Very similar to the bagpipes of North Africa, the Maltese żaqq consists of a chanter (saqqafa) with two side-by-side pipes (qwiemi) made of cane and set into a wooden yoke, using two single-reeds (bedbut). A single bull's horn bell (qarn) is typically attached to the end of the chanter. There are no drones. The bag was traditionally made of (preferably) dogskin, but goat- and calfskin were also used; there are ethnographic reports that skins of large tomcats also served.[1]

The use of the żaqq in daily life came to an end in the 1970s, but there are ongoing attempts to revive it by various folk music ensembles such as Etnika.

There was also a smaller type of Maltese bagpipe known as the qrajna (a diminutive of qarn ["horn"]).

Etymology and spellingEdit

It is sometimes erroneously referred to as the zapp due to a spelling error in a 1939 English-language publication. The Maltese word żaqq literally means "sack" or "belly" and derives from Arabic ziqq ( زِقّ "skin" [as a receptacle]). It is sometimes stated that żaqq derives from Italian zampogna but this is not the case.


  1. Partridge, J. K.; Frank Jeal (1977). "The Maltese Zaqq". The Galpin Society Journal 30: 112–144.