Music of Peru

Music and musical traditions of Peru
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The Music of Peru is an amalgamation of sounds and styles drawing on Peru's Andean, Spanish, and African roots. Andean influences can perhaps be best heard in wind instruments and the shape of the melodies, while the African influences can be heard in the rhythm and percussion instruments, and European influences can be heard in the harmonies and stringed instruments. Pre-Columbian Andean music was played on drums and string instruments, like the European pipe and tabor tradition. Andean tritonic and pentatonic scales were elaborated during the colonial period into hexatonic, and in some cases, diatonic scales.


Yma Sumac Stories published in the 1950s claimed that she was an Incan princess, directly descended from Atahualpa.

The earliest printed polyphonic music in Peru, indeed anywhere in the Americas, was "Hanacpachap cussicuinin," composed or collected by Juan Pérez Bocanegra and printed in 1631.[1]


Stringed instruments

Peruvian music is dominated by the national instrument, the charango.[2][3] The charango is member of the lute family of instruments and was invented during the Viceroyalty of Peru by musicians imitating the Spanish vihuela.[4] In the Canas and Titicaca regions, the charango is used in courtship rituals, symbolically invoking mermaids with the instrument to lure the woman to the male performers. Until the 1960s, the charango was denigrated as an instrument of the rural poor. After the revolution in 1959, which built upon the Indigenismo movement (1910–1940), the charango was popularized among other performers. Variants include the walaycho, chillador, chinlili, and the larger and lower-tuned charangon.

While the Spanish guitar is widely played, so too is the Spanish-in-origin bandurria. Unlike the guitar, it has been transformed by Peruvian players over the years, changing from a 12-string, 6-course instrument to one having 12 to 16 strings in a mere 4 courses. Violins and harps, also of European origin, are also played.

Percussion instruments

The cajón is an important percussion instrument developed by African slaves.[5][6] People imply the cowbell may also be of African origin. While the rhythms played on them are often African-influenced, some percussive instruments are of non-African origin. For example, of European origin is the bombo, and of Andean origin are the wankara and tinya respectively.

Wind instruments

In addition to the ocarina and waqra phuku, there are Peruvian wind instruments of two basic types, panpipes and flutes, both of Native Andean origin and built to play tritonic, pentatonic and hexatonic scales, though some contemporary musicians play instruments designed to play European diatonic scales. Of the former variety, there are the siku (or zampoña) and antara. Of the latter variety, there are the pinkillu, tarka, and quena (qina) flutes.


See Peruvian dances

  • Apiliarg—A dance from the Oporeza area.[citation needed]
  • Carnaval en Amazonas—A dance from the Amazonas region similar to the huayno.
  • Carnavalito—A dance from southern Peru and the Bolivian Altiplano similar to the huayno.
  • Chumaichada—A dance from the Amazonas region with strong Native Peruvian musical influences and strong European dance influences.[7][8][9]
  • Creole Waltz—A Peruvian adaptation of the European waltz.
  • Cueca—A pan-Andean compound 3/4-6/8 dance rhythm.
  • Cumbia—A Colombian-in-origin 2/4 dance rhythm.
  • Danza de tijeras—A dance from southern Peru.
  • Danzantes de Levanto—A dance from the Amazonas region.
  • Diablada—A 2/4 dance rhythm from southern Peru, Bolivia, and northern Chile.
  • Morenada—A dance rhythm from western Bolivia, mainly La Paz.
  • Festejo—A popular 12/8 Afro-Peruvian dance form.
  • Harawi (genre) or Yaravi—A highland dance danced to various meters: 2/4, 3/4, and 4/4.
  • Huanca (dance)—A dance from the Amazonas region.
  • Huayno—A popular 2/4 highlands dance.
  • Kantu—A highland circle dance mainly in the Andean Altiplano.
  • Landó—An Afro-Peruvian compound 3/4-12/8 dance rhythm.
  • Marinera—An Afro-Peruvian 6/8 dance rhythm.
  • Polka—A 2/4 European-in-origin dance form.
  • Sikuri—A dance rhythm from the Andean Altiplano in southern Peru and western Bolivia.
  • Son de los Diablos
  • Tondero—A northwestern Peruvian 6/8 dance form.
  • Zamacueca—A 6/8 Afro-Peruvian dance form.

Notable artists

Tania Libertad was named an Ambassador for Peace by UNESCO, Commendatory by the Peruvian government.
  • Jaime Guardia, singer and charango player, performed and recorded as a solo act and with the group Lira Paucina.
  • One important space for Peruvian contemporary classical music is Circomper, the Peruvian Composition Circle.

See also


  1. ^ Kerman, Joseph; Tomlinson, Gary; Kerman, Vivian (2007). Listen (6th ed.). Boston: Bed-St. Martin's. p. 94. ISBN 0-312-43419-7. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  2. ^ "EL CHARANGO". Federico Tarazona (in Spanish). Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  3. ^ "El charango: todo acerca de la guitarra criolla que recoge muchos años de historia de los Andes". (in Spanish). Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  4. ^ Cervantes, Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de. "Anotaciones históricas sobre el charango / Varela De Vega, Juan Bautista". Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes (in Spanish). Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  5. ^ PERÚ, NOTICIAS EL COMERCIO (2021-08-02). "Día del Cajón Peruano: ¿Cómo nació esta celebración en Perú? | 02 de agosto | REVTLI | RESPUESTAS". El Comercio Perú (in Spanish). Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  6. ^ "Cajón peruano: historia e importancia de uno de los instrumentos que más sorprende al mundo". (in Spanish). Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  7. ^ danzasdelaselva (2021-04-22). "Danza de la chumaychada de Chachapoyas - Historia y evolución". Danzas de la selva (in Spanish). Retrieved 2022-09-24.
  8. ^ "Hermosa chumaychada, un baile nativo de la ciudad de Chachapoyas". Nacional (in Spanish). 2022-04-20. Retrieved 2022-09-24.
  9. ^ "Desde Chachapoyas con mucho cariño el baile de la Chumaychada". Nacional (in Spanish). 2021-09-30. Retrieved 2022-09-24.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Music of Peru.
  • Música Criolla del Perú
  • (in French) Audio clips: Traditional music of Peru. Musée d'ethnographie de Genève. Accessed November 25, 2010.
  • Brill, Mark. Music of Latin America and the Caribbean, 2nd Edition, 2018. Taylor & Francis ISBN 1138053562
  • BBC Radio 3 Audio (60 minutes): Huaynos of the Andes and Afro-Peruvian music. Accessed November 25, 2010.
  • BBC Radio 3 Audio (60 minutes): The music of Ayacucho. Accessed November 25, 2010.
  • BBC Radio 3 Audio (60 minutes): Iquitos, Huancayo and Lake Titicaca. Accessed November 25, 2010.
  • Manuelcha Prado Official website
  • Music from the Andes and Nearby Regions
  • Going Underground: Peru An exploration into the underground music scene in Peru
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