the Pipe and Tabor compendium

the Pipe and Tabor compendium

essays on the three-hole pipe


Spain - Basque Country - players

local artists
1922 Ramiro Arrue

Ramiro Arrue1925 RamiroArrue

Ramiro ArrueRamiro Arrue
Ramiro Arrue paintingRamiro Arrue playing for dancing
20thc postcard20th century postcard   1929 magazine cover1929 magazine cover    
1891 painting1891 Darío de Regoyos y Valdes playing for dancingplaying for dancing Aurelio AretaAurelio Arteta (detail)
Aurelio Arteta  Y Erresti Aurelio Arteta Y Erresti Jacques Tanneur Jacques Tanneur

Charles Homualk [detail]

playing for dancersCharles Homualk

Charles Homualk [detail]

1956 painting1956 playing for
folk dancing

PaintingJose Arrue [detail]

Ramiro Arrue Y Trebla painting

playing for dancing [detail]

card paintingJavier Ciga 20th century playerplayer from a postcard
1958 design1958 Oarso Renteria 1959 card1959 card playing for dancingplaying for dancing [detail] 1964 illustration1964 Bilbao map, illustration
  playing for dancingplaying for dancing postcard early 20th century playerearly 20th century player
by Aurelio Arteta
20th century painting20th century [detail]
Ramiro Arrue painting
Basque DanceRamiro Arrue painting
with sword dancersRamiro Arrue sword dancers unknownTxistulari and his tambouri, watercolour
txistu (pipe)and tamboril (tabor)

"the first txistulari hired in Bilbao are from the 15th century, we are very much alive today".

Formerly txistus were made of bone or wood, and although they can now be made of plastic or metal, it is more
common for them to be wooden. The txistu player or txistulari, plays mostly dance music, at popular festivities
and in village squares, participating as master of ceremonies in rural areas and in religious processions and official
protocols. Nowadays, the txistu, whose tuning and technique have evolved, is taught and studied at official music schools.

For more details of Basque txistularis today go here.

Village Fetes and Diversions of the Basques

“…The Zorcicaa and other dances are Basque; the music
the Basque pipe and tabor, of which the harsh and monotonous sounds end by becoming pleasing to the ear…”

Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine

18611861 French Basque, playing for 'dance of sticks' 18781878 'Bordon Dance of Tolosa', Basque province of Gipuzkoa
1880 18801880 Elorrio
early 20th century photographearly 20th century photograph 1923 meeting1923 meeting of players
San SebastianSan Sebastian, postcard
20th century group20th century group photograph, txistu player on extreme left  
1919 postcard1919 postcard from Vascongadas, Spain
1923 meeting1923 meeting of players
19281928 Lizartza town, Gipuzkoa

1929 folk dancers

“…The first sign of this had been the sound of a Basque pipe and tabor issuing joyously from a motor-car
which carried six men clothed in fancy dresses of scarlet and gold down the zigzag road leading to the station
…The pipe and tabor and folk-dancers—for such were the gaily dressed men in the motor—were
accompaniments of their challengers, a team from a Basque town….”

The Cornhill Magazine 1929-11: Vol 67 Iss 401

dancerspostcard, playing for folk dancing
playing for 'dance with small sticks'playing for 'dance with small sticks'  
Bilbao processionBilbao procession
19411941 Bilbao  
19481948 Bayonne Festival
date unknowndate unknown: patron saint festivities of Vitoria-Gasteiz.
Photo Gerardo López de Guereñu
playerssource 1937 player1937 soldier playerplayer 19611961 postcard, France 1984 female player1984 France
2015 player2015      
21st century French21st century France BilbaoBilbao female players21st century, Basque country
Two women txistularis.
Basque paradeparade BilbaoBilbao
2013 musicians2013 musicians 2014 religious service2014 religious service Bilbao
band2019 Durangaldeko Jaizaleak band
band of Leioaband from Leioa 2020 street entertainment2020 street entertainment in Barakaldo, Chistularis
wearing the same cardiganband all wearing the cardigan from Texartu Textile Studio 20132013
dance displaydance display dance displaydance display
male dance soloAurresku, solo male dance performed at
weddings, tributes and public events

unknownunknown Arcangues, France

carnivalIlarduya carnival

PigTxerria, French Basque pig breed
swortd dance players2021 playing for Pamplona Sword Dance
2021 playing for sword dance2021 playing for Sanfermin Aldapakoa sword dance 20222022 Donostia San Sebastián, celebration
20232023 carnival celebration, Txistulari Taldearan Parade, Mundaka 20232023 carnival Altsasu, Navarra
20242024 parade in Berroeta, Navarra  
statuetteceramic statuette bronze statuettebronze statuette statuettestatuette statuetteresin statuette female player statuetteresin statuette bronze plaquebronze plaque dollsouvenir doll


with giants
with giantwith giant 1950 with giants1950 with giants 1955 with giants1955 with giants and big heads
parade with Big Headsparade with Big Heads
municipal bands
1905 band1905 players 1920players in San Sebastian, 1920
early playersPortugalete, Bizkaia, País Vasco
early 20th century
Isidro Ansorena Eleizegi (1893-1975)
was first txistulari of the Municipal Band of San Sebastián all his life from the age of 14. ... He was the one who introduced the txistu in the Conservatory of San Sebastián, thus laying the basis for its officialization... The txistus that he made were distinguished by their sweetness of sound and the tightest tuning.
1943 town band1943 Pamplona
Pamplona town bandPamplona town band
2001Banda de Txistularis Municipal de Pamplona playing in 2001 at the
annual Symposium of
The Taborers Society
2014 procession2014 Hondarribia, Spain
players21st century source 2020 band2020 Barakaldo band
town bandtown band
string drum
18101810 San Sebastion area
Victorian19th century Basque
string drumCharles Homualk [detail] 1852 string drum1852 string drum 19th century string drum19th century string drum 19th century for dancing19th century for dancing
string drumv playerBasque early 20th century

1923 playing for dancers1923 Basque painting
playing for dancers

1931 magazine article1931 magazine article 19341934 poster
19471947 postcard,
painter [detail]
20th playing for dancing20th century, Basque, playing for dancing   1945-19851945-1985 unknown painter
srting drum and flagpostcard painting20th century, Basque, painting [detail] unknownunknown date
player and dancerspainting string drum playerstring drum player painted
string drum with pipe and tabor21st century Basque
string drum with pipe and tabor
2009 string drum2009 string drum 20202020 string drum
procession2020 Bearn procession
20242024 Pyrenean Music
stone carvings and frescos
Bayonne CathedralBayonne Cathedral 15th century15th century, Monestry Oliva-Navarra Pamplona Cathedral stone carvingPamplona Cathedral
stone carving, end 14th century

Pamplona Cathedral carvingPamplona Cathedral

For a complete history see here:

16th century fescos16th century frescos
beginning 16th centurybeginning 16th century Gothic altarpiece
(nativity) of the church of Lekeitio
Photo Garikoitz Estornés Zubizarreta

top of page