Binioù means bagpipe in the Breton language.

There are two kinds of binioù found in Brittany: the binioù kozh (kozh means "old" in Breton) and the binioù bras (bras means "big"), sometimes also called pib-veur.

The binioù bras is essentially the same as the Scottish great Highland bagpipe; sets are manufactured by Breton makers or imported from Scotland or elsewhere.

The binioù kozh has a one octave scale, and is very high-pitched; its lowest note is the same pitch as the highest on the great Highland bagpipe. It has a single drone two octaves below the tonic. In the old days the leather used for the bag was usually from a dog's skin, but this is nowadays replaced by other leathers which are easier to procure, like cow or sheep.

File:Bombarde und Biniou.JPG

Traditionally it is played in duet with the bombarde, a shawm which sounds an octave below the binioù chanter, for Breton folk dancing. The binioù bras is the one heard as part of a bagad.

It is typically suggested by locals that the binioù originates originally from KernVeur (Cornwall in Breton). But as traditions in the country have died (as the mother tongue - Cornish), so it seems has the role of the Binioù.


  • Of Pipers and Wrens (1997). Produced and directed by Gei Zantzinger, in collaboration with Dastum. Lois V. Kuter, ethnomusicological consultant. Devault, Pennsylvania: Constant Springù

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