Cabecera de Instrumentarium

Blog A Musician's Log | The most recent note

Blog A Musician's Log. The most recent note. By Edgardo Civallero

The bullroarers' magic

I clearly remember that it was at a popular festival in a village in the Guadarrama mountains, in the north of the community of Madrid, in Spain.

The musical ensemble Mayalde, famous in Castilla and Leon (and surroundings) for their interpretations of the most traditional Castilian music —with a strong emphasis on the use of everyday sound artifacts and peasant music, and with a great sense of humor— was performing. Eusebio Martín, the most visible face of the group, stood in the middle of the stage with a zumbadora. What English-speaking organological sources generically call "bullroarers": an oval piece of wood, tied to a string. Eusebio spoke about the old beliefs associated with the instrument, about its ancient uses, and about how, with the passing of decades and centuries, the element ended up becoming a simple entertainment for children.

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  All the notes in the blog

Blog A Musician's Log | The most recent sketch

Blog A Musician's Log. The most recent sketch. By Edgardo Civallero

The flute yoresoma of the Chiquitano

The Chiquitano are a society indigenous to the lowlands of eastern Bolivia, with a population of between 40,000 and 60,000 individuals (the third largest in the country) distributed among the provinces of Ñuflo de Chaves, Velasco, Sandoval, Germán Busch, Ichilo and Chiquitos (department of Santa Cruz) and Iténez (department of Beni), as well as in three municipalities in the state of Mato Grosso (Brazil). Speakers of the Bésiro language (the fourth most used in Bolivia), they dedicate themselves to agriculture and work on local farms, and keep alive an important part of their identity as a community.

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  All the sketches in the blog


Instrumentarium. Articles

El erquencho y otros clarinetes idioglóticos

Cuadernos de investigación musical, 17, enero-junio 2023, pp. 150-171.

[From the Spanish abstract] In his 1935 work on musical instruments among the indigenous peoples of South America, Karl Gustav Izikowitz noted the existence of a group of clarinets without fingering holes and idioglottal which he called "the Southern type." Curiously, he did not include in his list one of the few (if not the only) current survivors of that organological family: the erque or erquencho, an aerophone built and played in northwestern Argentina and southern Bolivia. Of relatively simple structure, it produces a sound hoarse, squeaky and gangly, in a limited range of notes, which does not prevent it from being very popular in its area of origin. Unfortunately, outside it is, even today, quite unknown. The article offers a review of the main characteristics of an almost lost family, and of a sound artifact almost invisible and scarcely performed outside its more traditional contexts.

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  All articles [in Spanish]

Books and other publications

Instrumentarium. Books and other publications

Yanawan yuraqwan
Andean musical instruments in black and white

Bogotá: Wayrachaki Editora, 2021.

Photo album with 15 black and white images accompanied by brief descriptions, introducing some of the most interesting traditional Andean musical instruments: quenas, pusi p'ias, sikus, toyos, rondadores, ocarinas, charangos, pingullos, pinkillos, waka pinkillos, waylla qhepas and wank'aras.

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  All the publications in English