the Pipe and Tabor compendium

the Pipe and Tabor compendium

essays on the three-hole pipe

South and Central America

archeology to today





gold figure details not knowngold figure
details not known
gold figure gold figure
details not known

1514 “Music was performed for the Spanish governors in the privacy of their own households and most maintained
a group of minstrels who played instruments like the harp, pipe and tabor bagpipe and the Moorish xabeba.
In 1514 such a group was present in the retinue of Pedrarias Davila, a nobleman from Avila who was
governor of Castilla de Oro."

‘Music and musicians in Renaissance cities and towns’, 2001

"“our cavalcade entered the town ... and every house resounded with the noise of trumpets, tabors, and pipes. ..."
Before feasts they " select a number of Indians who are to be the dancers ... The music is a pipe and tabor,
and the most extraordinary of their motions some awkward capers; in short, the whole is little to the taste of an European. ...

then one of them plays on a pipe and tabor, whilst others dance, as they call it, though it is not more than moving confusedly
from one side to the other, without measure or order.”

Antonio de. Ulloa in 1758 'A voyage to South America ..'










playerpanpipes and drums in political demonstration


South America with dancers
South America religious procession
South America with solo male dancer

video Txistu from Banfield

end-blown flutekamacheña, end-blown flute

The geographical area where the kamacheña (flute) is built and used comprises northwestern Argentina and southern Bolivia

When performed together with the kamacheña, the caja (drum) is usually fastened by a loop of leather to the right wrist of the male musician, who holds the waqtana or guastána, the stick or mace, in the same hand.  Andean traditional gender taboos do not allow women to play aerophones (wind instruments).

The Andean traditional calendar lays down that each musical instrument can only be performed during a specific time of the year and for specific purposes (usually related to agriculture and other traditional practices).  The kamacheña is played during the awti pacha or "dry season" (comprising from Carnival to All Saints' Day). Hence, its sound will be heard at winter festivals, e.g. during the feast of San Roque (mid-August) and, of course, All Saints celebrations (early November) and Carnival (February and March).

18th century18th century playing for morenada dancers
during a Catholic church festival

player19th century Aymara Indians

19481948 photograph page 627 20th century1954-1970
playing for the Wititi dance, Umala

Pincullo is also called pincollo, pinvollo, pinquillo, pincuillo opingollos and in Quichua aymará pinkiyllu, pinkillo

It adopts different sizes and diameters. It is used especially in carnival and in the past it was used in combat to produce a hellish noise and frighten the enemy.

In today’s Bolivian and Peruvian Andes, pinkullu or pinkillu duct flute performance is exclusively male, strongly associated with courtship and usually restricted to the rainy growing season between All Saints (November) and Carnival (February or March). The instrument’s sound is widely claimed to attract rain and to cause the crops to grow. 

The name applies equally to the three-hole pipe, played with a drum by a single player, or to five-, six- or seven-hole duct flutes which are typically played in consort. 



playerin the fields

player Waka Pinquillo
the duct flute of Bolivia.
It is made of cane about 45 to 50 cm long and 2.5 cm in diameter, with two fingerholes and one thumbhole, and a square opening at the duct. Overblowing produces multiple harmonics.
two drumsin Ayata playersIlabaya , Feast of the Lord of Sweet Name of Jesus
on Eden on Earth, January.

[ Gutierrez William - Audiovisual Images]
Kunfur pinquillo
(condor flute) or
quri pinkilly (golden flute)
from Ayllu Macha, northern Bolivia.
photog Henry Stobart

2022playing for dancing at Santiago de Huata

20062006 horn and tabor in a parade page 48 21st centuryQuenillero and drum player1992 Qhochipata Indians, panpipes and drum
player1992 Tambocusi Indians 20092009 Bolivia

1848 from a voyage on the river Amazon by H W Bates:

“In the evening we had more visitors. The
sounds of pipe and tabor were heard, and
presently a procession of villagers emerged
from a pathway through the mandioca fields.
They were on a begging expedition for St.
Thome, the patron saint of Indians and Mamelucos.
One carried a banner, on which was
crudely painted the figure of St. Thome
with a glory round his head. The pipe and
were of the simplest description. The
pipe was a reed pierced with four holes, by
means of which a few unmusical notes were
produced, and the tabor was a broad hoop
with a skin stretched over each end. A deformed
young man played both the instruments.”

Chile playerAntofagasta, playing for dancers

1925 - " Young Indians follow dancing to flute and tambour”

duct flute1900-1950 bone duct flute used by the Tukano indigenous people  
pipe and rattle  
Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto 
pipe and rattle source
Costa Rica

pre-Colombian player 400-1500 pendant [ pipe or snake? ]
for more pre-Colombian images
see here

Costa Rica700 - 1550 pipes and rattles
800-1200 gold pendant800-1200 gold pendant
750-1550 pendant750-1550 Chiriqui pendant
PanamaPanama/Costa Rica figure
pipe or snake?

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