Diple, mih

Mih, mjeh, diplas with a barrel or only diplas are different names for almost an identical instrument that was once played in the region from Istria to Lika, in Dalmatian Zagora and on the Dalmatian islands, all the way to Herzegovina. The mih is made of tanned goat or sheep skin, a dulca or channel through which air is blown and a chanter or dipla on which the player plays. Inside the mih, there are two reeds on the chanter. The mih has no drone or bordun like the bagpipes and the duda. Although mihs from various regions seem very similar, they are different, mostly because of the blowpipe, i.e. the number and position of holes, the position of the blowpipe and some other tiny details and decorations.

We differentiate several specific types of mih and diplas based on the position and the number of holes for playing – the mih from Herzegovina, the mih from the Pelješac peninsula, the central Dalmatian mih and the Istrian mih. There were several other variants and transitional shapes of mih. Each such instrument is unique and is different from other instruments in its melodies and in the technique used to play it. Every original musician had a specific manner and technique for playing.  For example, on the island of Cres the player would sit on a chair and play,  simultaneously stomping the ground with both feet to give the rhythm to the dancers.

Mihs are not tempered instruments and the relationship between tones is not pure in intonation, so every song is very specific and unusually sharp, just like the landscape in which this instrument is played.