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Example of a żaqq, in the Phoenix Musical Instrument Museum.

The żaqq (with definite article: iż-żaqq) is the most common form of Maltese bagpipes. The instrument was once associated with Maltese folk-festivals.[1]


The use of the żaqq in daily life came to an end in the 1970s, the instrument having been perhaps replaced by the accordion earlier in the century.[2] In 1977 the Galpin Society noted only nine remaining traditional pipers in Malta; the last of these, Toni "l-Hammarun" Cachia, died in 2004.[3] There are ongoing attempts to revive the instrument by various folk music ensembles such as Etnika.

Etymology and spelling[edit]

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 ( "skin" [as a receptacle]). It is sometimes stated that żaqq derives from Italian zampogna but this is not the case. ≤≥±

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ Lino Bugeja; Mario Buhagiar; Stanley Fiorini (1993). Birgu: a Maltese maritime city. Malta University Services. p. 382. ISBN 978-99909-44-01-3. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
  2. ^ Journal of Mediterranean studies. Mediterranean Institute, University of Malta. 1 January 1995. p. 82. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
  3. ^ Galpin Society (2001). Newsletter. Galpin Society. p. 71. Retrieved 14 August 2012.. Last of the Maltese Bagpipers of Old'