What does pifa mean (in a musical context)?

We’re in the middle of *Messiah * season at the moment and every year my curiosity is piqued by the use of the term *pifa * to describe the pastoral interlude in Part I. What does *pifa * mean? Is it an Italian word?

Well, I got this:

“(…) the Nativity Story is preceded by the purely orchestral “Pastoral Symphony,” which Handel titles Pifa, indicating that it should suggest the sound of pifferi, or shepherds’ pipes.”

From here. I’d never heard it before either, and it was oddly hard to google. Someone will surely be around to elaborate.


From here:

Thanks Peak Banana and jayjay. Now the term pifa makes a lot more sense.