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Ethnographic Flute Recordings of South America

This page provides a listing of ethnographic and reference recordings from South America that are related to world flutes. They are sorted by culture and then chronologically.

Please refer to the Ethnographic Flute Recordings Overview Page for background on these listings.

Ethnographic Flute Recordings from South America

These entries are sorted first by culture and then by the date (sometimes approximate) of the recording.

The term “collector” is used to indicate the researcher who oversaw the effort to record the material. In many cases, this person also serves as the recording engineer, although this role is typically not specified.

In the case of the publication of multiple editions of the audio material on different media (for example, LP, cassette, and compact disc), only the most recent edition is cited. However, the text of liner notes from earlier editiions is sometimes provided. Click on the citation tag to see the listing of all published editions.

Bahia

[Rawcliffe 2002-15] Susan Rawcliffe (researcher and performer). La Plata Chamberduct Flute Reference Recording «REF». Solo flute, Bahia culture. Recorded 2002, Length: 1:53.
» Published in Sounding Clay: Pre-Hispanic Flutes1 ([Rawcliffe 2002]), sound sample 15.

1Rawcliffe description: This press-molded figure of a woman measures 67 x 285 x 94 mm, and is from Ecuador, La Plata Island, Manabí Coast, Bahía culture, 400 B.C. to 400 A.D. Its belly contains two double chamberduct whistles with two fingerholes per whistle on the front and back of the figure. The flute is blown through the back of the head, positioning the players' nose and eyes above. Each whistle has four chambers: a shared blowing one that directs air to two separate chambers at the bottom of which is the entrance hole for each chamberduct. Directly opposite this hole is the whistle's aperture leading to its chamber. Each chamberduct has four holes: two fingerholes plus two opposing sound producing holes. Each whistle system plays three tones: front or back fingerhole open or both holes open. Closing all fingerholes seals the air inside, producing no sound. The available pitches are determined by the total size and interaction of all three chambers plus the fingerholes. On this flute, when the front two holes are open, a near unison is played (surely not accidental ).
(Fingerhole placement in a chamberduct direct the airstream over the imbedded whistle and therefore can affect the ability of the whistle to sound. The rear left hole is angled to the left from the inside to the outside of the body. The sound produced with only this hole open is relatively weak; It's possible that the creator of this instrument was attempting to correct this.)
The right rear hole is slightly higher in pitch than the left rear, and played together, these two holes play a beating tone. A variety of intervals is created when the possible fingerhole positions of the two whistles are explored. Combination tones pop out and disappear, magically creating multiple sounds from two whistles. (On the recorded sample, I play first the right whistle, front and both, then the left. I next play each of the left whistle tones plus all three right tones in sequence.)


Camayurá

[Camayura 1954-01] Unknown Camayurá performers; Edward Moffat Weyer, Jr. (collector) (1904–1998). Giant Double Flute Tuning. Giant double flutes, Camayurá culture. Recorded 1954, Mato Grosso, Upper Xingú River, Brazil, Length: 2:01.
» Recording published in Music from Mato Grosso, Brazil1 (FE 4446 [Weyer 1954]), track 4.
» Handbook of South American Indians, Volume 3: The Tropical Forest Tribes ([Steward 1948]), page 330.

Overtone flutes

1Liner notes: Giant double flutes tuning up for the urua dance. One tube of this giant double pipe is 7 feet in length; the other 5 feet long. The tubes, about 2 inches in diameter, are made by fitting two halves of bamboo together with pitch and lashings.


[Camayura 1954-02] Unknown Camayurá performers; Edward Moffat Weyer, Jr. (collector) (1904–1998). Uruá ceremony music. Giant double flutes, Camayurá culture. Recorded 1954, Mato Grosso, Upper Xingú River, Brazil, Length: 1:12.
» Recording published in Music from Mato Grosso, Brazil1 (FE 4446 [Weyer 1954]), track 7.

Overtone flutes

1Liner notes: Music of the uruá ceremony performed by two men playing giant double flutes.


Chocó

[Choco 1965-01] Unknown Chocó performer; Jonathan Ambache and Richard Saumarez Smith (collectors). Chocó flute and drum music. Flute and Drum, Chocó culture. Recorded August 1965, Columbia, Length: 2:49.
» Recording archived at The Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, England. Recording 2008 113 2 2 23.


[Choco 1965-02] Unknown Chocó performer; Jonathan Ambache and Richard Saumarez Smith (collectors). Chocó solo flute music. Solo flute, Chocó culture. Recorded August 1965, Columbia, Length: 1:35.
» Recording archived at The Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, England. Recording 2008 113 2 3 13.


[Choco 1965-04] Unknown Chocó performer; Jonathan Ambache and Richard Saumarez Smith (collectors). Chocó flute and drum music with rattle. Flute and percussion, Chocó culture. Recorded August 1965, Columbia, Length: 4:55.
» Recording archived at The Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, England. Recording 2008 113 2 5 8.


[Choco 1965-07] Unknown Chocó performer; Jonathan Ambache and Richard Saumarez Smith (collectors). Chocó flute and drum music. Flute and Drum, Chocó culture. Recorded August 1965, Columbia, Length: 1:04.
» Recording archived at The Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, England. Recording 2008 113 2 5 15.


[Choco 1965-08] Unknown Chocó performer; Jonathan Ambache and Richard Saumarez Smith (collectors). Chocó panpipe music. Panpipes, Chocó culture. Recorded August 1965, Columbia, Length: 2:19.
» Recording archived at The Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, England. Recording 2008 113 2 5 26.


[Choco 1965-09] Unknown Chocó performer; Jonathan Ambache and Richard Saumarez Smith (collectors). Chocó flute and drum music with rattle. Flute and percussion, Chocó culture. Recorded August 1965, Columbia, Length: 3:17.
» Recording archived at The Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, England. Recording 2008 113 2 6 3.


[Choco 1965-10] Unknown Chocó performer; Jonathan Ambache and Richard Saumarez Smith (collectors). Chocó solo flute music. Solo flute, Chocó culture. Recorded August 1965, Columbia, Length: 3:40.
» Recording archived at The Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, England. Recording 2008 113 2 3 11.


Manteno

[Rawcliffe 2002-11] Susan Rawcliffe (researcher and performer). Ecuadorcan Bird Whistle Reference Recording «REF». Solo flute, Manteno culture. Recorded 2002, Length: 0:25.
» Published in Sounding Clay: Pre-Hispanic Flutes1 ([Rawcliffe 2002]), sound sample 11.

1Rawcliffe description: With three acoustically coupled chambers, this Ecuadorcan bird is from the Manteno culture, ca. 500- 1500 A. D. It measures 56 x 75 x 29 mm. The tail forms the airduct, directing air to the top ball. Another ball rests below, with its apeture opposite the aperture of the primary whistle; both are surrounded by a third open chamber. The pitch can be varied by moving a finger back and forth over the top or sides of the open chamber.


Moche

[Rawcliffe 2002-10] Susan Rawcliffe (researcher and performer). Peruvian Whistle Reference Recording «REF». Solo flute, Moche culture. Recorded 2002, Length: 0:40.
» Published in Sounding Clay: Pre-Hispanic Flutes1 ([Rawcliffe 2002]), sound sample 10.

1Rawcliffe description: Measuring 210 x 170 x 133 mm, this Peruvian Moche IV whistling pot comes from the Chicama and Nepeña Valley, ca. A.D. 600-750. A small tube connected to the round body of the pot directs air to the whistle visibly contained inside the bat. This whistle within a chamber is thus a pitch jump whistle. The pitch can be manipulated by opening and closing the holes in the chamber forming the bat man, most easily its mouth, from which the sound seems to issue in play.


Parintintin

[Parintintin 1924] Unknown Parintintin performer; Hermann Dengler (collector) (1890–1945). An elderly Parintintin warrior singing, with flute. Vocal and flute, Parintintin culture. Recorded December 24, 1924, River basin of the middle Madeira, West Brazil, Length: 2:21.
» Recording published in MusikWeltKarte — Der Edison-Phonograph und die musikalische Kartographie der Erde «The World Map of Music - The Edison Phonograph and the Musical Cartography of the Earth»1 (CD-ROM [Wegner 2007]).
» Recording also listed in Die Wachszylinder des Berliner Phonogramm-Archivs «The Wax Cylinders of the Berlin Phonogram Archive»2 (hardcover [Ziegler 2006]), pages 146-149, item 13 of the PDF on the CD-ROM.
» Recording archived at Das Ethnologisches Museum, Museen Dahlem, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin3, Berlin, Germany.

The citation in Wegner of cylinder 13 appears incorrect, since the text of the Ziegler documentation does not agree with the audio material.

1Wegner's notes: Cylinder recording and photos: Hermann Dengler
Collection "Dengler Brasilien", cylinder 13
River basin of the middle Madeira, West Brazil, 1924
In the 1920s, the Parintintin lived along the middle Madeira, one of the large tributaries of the Amazon River. The jungles were still hardly touched by encroaching civilization. With barely one hundred warriors, the Parintintin successfully defended over 200 square km against Indian and non-Indian intruders. They were feared for their courageous raids on the settlements of the White people. Their head-hunting and cannibalism reputation accounted for much of the terror that many felt when their thoughts turned to small folk in the jungle.
Not until 1922 was it possible for the Brazilian Indian Protective Service to build a permanent base with 22 men in Parintintin territories and to establish peaceful contact with them. After many futile attacks, the Indians had to recognize that their bows and arrows were ineffective against the corrugated sheet metal huts. The gifts from the White people did the rest to win the Parintintin over to peace.
Two years later, Hermann Dengler reached the outpost and documented the Indians with a photo camera and phonograph. He described the Indians as having a “friendly” and “good-natured” disposition.

2Berliner Phonogramm-Archivs documentation: Dengler Brasilien
Dokumentation nach der maschinenschriftlichen Originalliste. Liste vollständig
13. 24.12.1924. Kriegsgeschrei.
Chor. 6 oder 8 kräftige Indianer im Alter von 14-35 Jahren.
„Hauptstimmen“ PIRÁ und GATÍA. Diese Aufnahme bereitete den Indianern viel Vergnügen.

Dengler Brazil
Documentation after original typewritten list. complete list
13. 12/24/1924. War cries.
Choir. 6 or 8 strong Indians aged 14-35 years.
"The main voices" PIRA and GATÍA. This recording was preparing the Indians enjoy.

³SMB-digital database record: Dengler Brasilien; Walzensammlung
Hermann Dengler (1890-1945), Sammler
Aufnahmejahr: 1924
Aufnahmeort: Manaos, Tres Casas; Kontinent: Südamerika; Region: Brasilien; Ethnie: Kawahem [Parintintin]
Ident.Nr. VII WS 75
Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Ethnologisches Museum
Sammlung: Ethnologisches Museum | Phonogramm-Archiv
Description: Zu den Aufnahmen liegen ausführliche Bemerkungen und z.T. Texte vor. Bose 1953 und Schneider 1972 enthalten eine bzw. zwei Transkriptionen. Weitere Unterlagen (Objekte, Photos ) im MV vorhanden.

Dengler Brazil; roll collection
Hermann Dengler (1890-1945), collector
Year of recording: 1924
Location: Manaus, Tres Casas; Continent: South America, Region: Brazil; Ethnicity: Kawahem [Parintintin]
Ident.Nr. VII WS 75
State Museums of Berlin, Prussian Cultural Heritage, Museum of Ethnology
Collection: Museum of Ethnology | Phonogram Archive
Description: The shots are detailed remarks and some Texts before. Bose in 1953 and Schneider 1972 contain one or two transcriptions. Other documents (objects, photographs) available in the MV.


Peruvian

[Peruvian 1910-04] Unknown Peruvian performer; Juan Enrique (Hans Heinrich) Brüning (collector) (1848–1928). "La Conchaperla" Marinera. Flute and Drum (one-hand flute), Peruvian culture. Recorded 1910, Peru, Length: 0:52.
» Recording published in Die Wachszylinder des Berliner Phonogramm-Archivs «The Wax Cylinders of the Berlin Phonogram Archive»1 (hardcover [Ziegler 2006]), page 107, item 4 of the PDF on the CD-ROM; file Bruening_4.wav on the CD-ROM.
» Recording archived at Das Ethnologisches Museum, Museen Dahlem, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin2, Berlin, Germany.

1Berliner Phonogramm-Archivs documentation: Brüning Peru
Dokumentation nach der im Haus verfassten maschinenschriftlichen Liste. Liste vollständig.
Phonogramme, aufgenommen von Herrn Brüning in Peru 1910
4) "La Conchaperla" Marinera, Flöte und Trommel

Bruning Peru
Written documentation of the house typewritten list. List completely.
Phonograms, taken by Mr. Brüning in Peru in 1910
4) "La Conchaperla" Marinera, flute and drum

²SMB-digital database record: Brüning Peru; Walzensammlung
Hans Heinrich Brüning (1848-1928), Sammler
Aufnahmejahr: 1910,1911, 1923-1925
Aufnahmeort: Lambayeque, Eten u.a.
Kontinent: Südamerika; Region: Peru; Ethnie: keine Angaben
Ident.Nr. VII WS 61
Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Ethnologisches Museum
Sammlung: Ethnologisches Museum | Phonogramm-Archiv
Description: Walze 21 war 1962 noch vorhanden, damals wurde eine Bandkopie angefertigt. Die Walzen tragen keine Eingangsnummern. Briefwechsel liegt vor. Ergänenzde Materialien (Korrespondenz, Photos) befinden sich im Museum für Völkerkunde in Hamburg.

Bruning Peru; roll collection
Hans Heinrich Brüning (1848-1928), collector
Recorded: 1910.1911, 1923 to 1925
Location: Lambayeque, Eten inter alia
Continent: South America, Region: Peru; ethnicity: Unspecified
Ident.Nr. VII WS 61
State Museums of Berlin, Prussian Cultural Heritage, Museum of Ethnology
Collection: Museum of Ethnology | Phonogram Archive
Description: roller 21 was in 1962 still exists, then a tape copy was made. The rollers wear no input numbers. Correspondence exists. Ergänenzde materials (correspondence, photographs) are located in the Museum of Ethnology in Hamburg.


Musician from Eten
with one-hand flute
and cylinder
drum (undated)

Musician from Eten
with one-hand flute
and cylinder
drum (undated) Larger image

[Peruvian 1910-08] Unknown Peruvian performer; Juan Enrique (Hans Heinrich) Brüning (collector) (1848–1928). Dance for the Christmas Season. Flute and Drum (one-hand flute), Peruvian culture. Recorded 1910, Lambayeque, North Coast of Peru, Length: 1:33.
» Recording published in MusikWeltKarte — Der Edison-Phonograph und die musikalische Kartographie der Erde «The World Map of Music - The Edison Phonograph and the Musical Cartography of the Earth»1 (CD-ROM [Wegner 2007]).
» Recording also listed in Die Wachszylinder des Berliner Phonogramm-Archivs «The Wax Cylinders of the Berlin Phonogram Archive»2 (hardcover [Ziegler 2006]), page 107, item 8 of the PDF on the CD-ROM.
» Recording archived at Das Ethnologisches Museum, Museen Dahlem, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin3, Berlin, Germany.

1Wegner's notes: Juan Enrique (Hans Heinrich) Brüning
Collection "Brüning Peru", cylinder 8
Lambayeque, north coast of Peru, Sound example: 1910
The combination of wind and percussion instruments was extremely popular in Peru at the beginning of the 20th century. The one-hand flute and drum ensembles originated from the music of the rural mountain areas. The large bands (“bandas”) with brass instruments and military drums represented urban music in the coastal regions. Both types of ensembles performed at the “fiestas religiosas.”

2Berliner Phonogramm-Archivs documentation: Brüning Peru
Dokumentation nach der im Haus verfassten maschinenschriftlichen Liste. Liste vollständig.
Phonogramme, aufgenommen von Herrn Brüning in Peru 1910
8) Masika que aura panja à las pastores en las Pasenas de Navidad. Flöte und Trommel

Bruning Peru
Written documentation of the house typewritten list. List completely.
Phonograms, taken by Mr. Brüning in Peru in 1910
8) Masika aura panja à las que en las pastores Pasenas de Navidad. Flute and drum

³SMB-digital database record: Brüning Peru; Walzensammlung
Hans Heinrich Brüning (1848-1928), Sammler
Aufnahmejahr: 1910,1911, 1923-1925
Aufnahmeort: Lambayeque, Eten u.a.
Kontinent: Südamerika; Region: Peru; Ethnie: keine Angaben
Ident.Nr. VII WS 61
Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Ethnologisches Museum
Sammlung: Ethnologisches Museum | Phonogramm-Archiv
Description: Walze 21 war 1962 noch vorhanden, damals wurde eine Bandkopie angefertigt. Die Walzen tragen keine Eingangsnummern. Briefwechsel liegt vor. Ergänenzde Materialien (Korrespondenz, Photos) befinden sich im Museum für Völkerkunde in Hamburg.

Bruning Peru; roll collection
Hans Heinrich Brüning (1848-1928), collector
Recorded: 1910.1911, 1923 to 1925
Location: Lambayeque, Eten inter alia
Continent: South America, Region: Peru; ethnicity: Unspecified
Ident.Nr. VII WS 61
State Museums of Berlin, Prussian Cultural Heritage, Museum of Ethnology
Collection: Museum of Ethnology | Phonogram Archive
Description: roller 21 was in 1962 still exists, then a tape copy was made. The rollers wear no input numbers. Correspondence exists. Ergänenzde materials (correspondence, photographs) are located in the Museum of Ethnology in Hamburg.


Wayana

[Wayana 1990-05] Kuliempë and Sukuya (performers); Hervé Riviére (collector). Holoho. Flute duet (kiyapok flute), Wayana culture. Recorded 1990 - 1992, Upper Maroni river, Suriname and French Guiana, Length: 5:25.
» Recording published in Musique Instrumentale des Wayana du Litani «Instrumental Music of the Wayana of the Litani river (Surinam, French Guiana)»1 ([Riviere 1996]), track 5.

Excerpt from Holoho (excerpt)

1Liner notes: Kiyapok flute
This flute with no playing hole, called "toucan" flute (the meaning of kiyapok-ewu) contains a small wax deflector directing the breath towards a palm leaf strip which acts as a ridge. In it's principle, this instrument is like some American cousin of Western recorders.
Kuliempë and his son Sukuya play alternately, following a strict hocket technique, a piece entitled holoho (a bird's name).


Yekuana

Deer bone flute

Deer bone flute Larger image

[Yekuana 1970-01] Unknown Yekuana performer; Walter Coppens, Barbara Brändli, and Jean François Nothomb (collectors). Deer Flute. Solo flute, Yekuana culture. Recorded 1970, Jiwitiña, Kanaralcuniña, Kuamana, Venezuela, Length: 0:49.
» Published in Music of the Venezuelan Yekuana (Makiritare) Indians1 (FW04104 [Coppens-W 1975]), side A, track 2.

1Walter Coppens and Isaias Rodriguez V. liner notes: Deer-bone flute (kawadi de,ie)
This instrument, widely spread among many native tribes of Venezuela, is made from a deer tibia. This is a flute without airduct, which at the top end has a notch sometimes covered with beeswax. In the central part there are three finger holes, and between the first and second an internal beeswax wall with two or three apertures which serve to propagate the sound. The exterior holes and the internal wall determine the pitch of the instrument (plate 5).
This instrument is played during the Yekuana's moments of leisure, always in a recreational context. Place and date of recording: Jiwitiña, 1970.


Cane flute

Cane flute Larger image

[Yekuana 1970-02] Unknown Yekuana performer; Walter Coppens, Barbara Brändli, and Jean François Nothomb (collectors). Cane Flute. Solo flute, Yekuana culture. Recorded 1970, Jiwitiña, Kanaralcuniña, Kuamana, Venezuela, Length: 0:55.
» Published in Music of the Venezuelan Yekuana (Makiritare) Indians1 (FW04104 [Coppens-W 1975]), side B, track 6.

1Walter Coppens and Isaias Rodriguez V. liner notes: Cane flute (hito / wichu)
This is a cylindrical and end-blown flute which has an airduct and is played by inserting the mouthpiece between the lips. The instrument has a triangular aperture a few centimeters below the mouthpiece. At the lower level of the aperture the flute has an internal wall of beeswax with a narrow slit in its upper partt hrough which the air passes. Air blown against the edge of the triangle produces the sound. The lower part of the instrument has five finger holes and one opposite the first; these holes are used to modify the sound being produced. The flute ends at a closed knot which usually has an appendix carved in the shape of an animal head (plate 4).
The use of the deer-bone flute requires certain practice: the player puts the top end mouthpiece between his lips and blows against the edge of the instrument.
This flute and the deer bone flute are often played alternately. As an instrument for leisure, the use of the cane flute is preferred to that of the deer bone one, which is more difficult to play. Place and date of recording: Jiwitiña, 1970.


 
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