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A drone is most commonly a cylindrically-bored tube with a single reed, although drones with double reeds exist.The drone is generally designed in two or more parts with a sliding joint so that the pitch of the drone can be adjusted.The player keeps the bag inflated by blowing air into it through a blowpipe or pumping air into it with a bellows.
A few bagpipes (such as the musette de cour, the uilleann pipes, the Northumbrian smallpipe, the piva and the left chanter of the surdulina) have closed ends or stop the end on the player's leg, so that when the player "closes" (covers all the holes) the chanter becomes silent.
Depending on the type of pipes, the drones may lie over the shoulder, across the arm opposite the bag, or may run parallel to the chanter.
Some drones have a tuning screw, which effectively alters the length of the drone by opening a hole, allowing the drone to be tuned to two or more distinct pitches.
A practice chanter is a chanter without bag or drones, allowing a player to practice the instrument quietly and with no variables other than playing the chanter.
The term chanter is derived from the Latin cantare, or "to sing", much like the modern French word chanteur.