Panpipe Book: "Zampoña: Panpipe to Evoke the Collective Memory of our Soul"

The Following Page is a sample of our book about the Zampoña panpipes. In it you will find the history of these Andean panpipes as well as very detailed instructions on how to make, and learn how to play the Andean Zampoña panpipes.

"Zampoña: Panpipe to Evoke the Collective Memory of our Soul"

The Zampoña was all along with us
always waiting to fill its heart of reed from the

melodies of our soul.

The panpipes were our hidden voice
forever expecting our song
to give meaning to its destiny.

Let the music of our
ancient collective memory
bloom again in your imagination,
let your senses remember the music
we all once knew:
The sound and the wind
and its heart singing all over
homeland earth.


Introduction and Acknowledgments
About this Book 4
The Zampoña or Andean panpipe
Some Conceptual Notes 6
A Musical, Historical and Cultural context
Similar Instruments from Around the World
The Zampoña Construction
Materials Necessary to make a Zampoña
Construction Of Your Zampoña 14
How to play your Zampoña
Feed and Care of your Zampoña
About the Tablature of Songs and the Recording Included with the Book
Tablature of Songs With Numbers
Tablature of Songs With Musical Notes
List and Order of Songs Included in the Recording 43
Where to buy a Zampoña


  • Introduction and Acknowledgments

            During the many years that I have been playing music, giving workshops, seminars and lectures on Andean, South American or
Latino American music and culture in the United States I have constantly heard from audiences, students, teachers, scholars and  
professional or amateur musicians, how much they would like to find out more information on the instruments or other aspects of the
culture.  I often found myself spending great amounts of time conversing with these wonderful people due to the lack of a centralized
source dealing with these interests.  A perennial favorite theme (I guess for being so reminiscent of something very primeval and
collective in all of us) was always the Zampoña.  Many of my closest friends and family for years suggested that I should finally
put down into writing some of the empirical knowledge, realizations, structured observations and research that I had done/acquired
over the years.  One day while going over my notes for a Zampoña panpipe making workshop I realized that just teaching people
how to make the instrument was rather superfluous and very removed from the experience of knowing about our own experience as
humans and indifferent to the specific culture of my own country that produced them.  So I decided to write and include some lines
about the musical, historical and social context of the Zampoña for inclusion in the workshop information.  Quickly, I found myself
writing non-stop page after page for about a week, after which all of the sudden I realized that the informational pages of my workshop
had actually turned into the material for this book.  I also realized then that I wanted people to know a lot more about the history
and provenance of the instruments as well as the people that produce them and their societies.  At the same time I wanted to shed
some light into the darkness created by certain parasites within this genre.  These individuals have encouraged a whole aura of mysticism
around the instrument and its people just to further profit from the candor, true curiosity and naiveté of the audience.  I also wanted to
lift the secrecy and pursuit of technicism in the performance of the Zampoña, which certain acculturated individuals, would like you to
ascribe to.  This is the most primeval and simple of instruments, which you can pour your feelings into.  Forget about what a certain
musician once told me, that feeling in the music does not exist, that feeling is just about where you put a musical accent which could
be ultimately written on paper (this is why he still doesn’t get the idea despite being a great musician). No! This instrument cannot be
intellectualized, it needs to be felt!

I would also deeply like to thank William Cumpiano and José Gonzalez for years of sincere and good hearted life advice and
for always insisting that I should put this information onto paper, Jamie Broadhead for demanding that this knowledge not be lost, making
me believe that this book would be interesting to thousands of people and that my English proficiency was excellent.  Most importantly I
 would love to thank my entire family Alfredo Sr., Gardelia, Rosa Maria and especially my children Christian and Stefan for always putting
up with my crazy schedules, my music and my staying up so late at night.

  • About This Book

            This book was made with non-musicians in mind.  It is for you, the every day human being, interested in diversity, history, culture,
music, Latin America or new knowledge for yourself or the children in your life.  If you are a musician you will still find highly relevant
information on the history of the instrument, how to play it as well as how to make one. There is no sheet music in here though. I only hope
that you, the reader, will be willing to experience this book with the same perspective that the passing of this knowledge would have had for
the inhabitants of the Altiplano or high plateaus of the Andes (exception made that you are actually reading the book while they would not have).
What I would want to happen is that you, the reader, get to experience this book as a whole package, not only as a cooking recipe without
understanding from where the whole dish came or why is it that certain people cook it this way and not that way.  Rather, I wish for you to
understand the instrument, which is the focus of this book as the embodiment of the sublime expression of a people and as the messenger of
the social environment that encompasses them. After all, for many years I have had the impression that panpipes were the proto instrument. 
After shakers and percussion devices came about it just makes perfect sense that for all time the true musical present that nature gifted us in
the delicate and intricate communion between humans and the earth was the panpipe.  What I mean is that the people from many world regions
understood this balance objectively, the Indians of the Altiplano actually “steal” the music from nature itself.  They allow the wind to blow on
their pipes by exposing them to blowing wind and in this way listen to lift their melodies from Mother Nature directly.  When you walk in the
Andes you can hear the music carried by the wind.  The wind actually sounds like music and if you look around attentively you may discover
bamboo plants while hearing the soothing sound of the wind blowing on the top of their stems as the plants curve under their own weight. 
This is the music, these were the melodies that Indian people heard and stole from the wind.  These are the songs that for always change but
for always belong to the wind.  And from this idea the inhabitants of the Altiplano discovered the Zampoña as their instrument. To this date,
people of the Altiplano believe that music is a soulful gift from our environment and that music still belongs to it.  They think that if we start killing
our environment, the earth, and its inhabitants, we will die and its musical gift along with us.  This is why the Indians of the Andes did not have a
word to designate music, because humans did not own it and because it was all a minimalist and an encompassing element of their everyday

  • The Zampoña or Andean panpipe

The Zampoña [Sahm-póhn-yah] is a generic term for a large family of double rowed panpipes native to the South American Andean
regions, each consisting of a collection of two separate groups of thin walled bamboo tubes strapped together into two rows with a cross-beam. 
In their most indigenous form, they are usually tied with llama wool in a manner similar to Eastern European Pan-pipes.  Each set of pipes can
be played either by two persons or held together and be performed by one. To play a scale the single player must jump between both rows,
as one single row will not contain a whole scale. Zampoñas are called Antara in Quechua (among the Quechua people) and sikus in Aymara
(among the Aymara people).  Its two halves are known as IRA or leader -the row with six pipes-, and ARCA or follower –the row with seven
pipes.  The Zampoña family ranges in sizes from the tiny Chuli (about 4.5’’) to the six-foot long Toyos.  Other members of the Zampoña family
employ various sizing to produce different tuning arrangements.  These include: Maltas, Zankas, Bastos, Toyos and Semitoyos (in Bolivia-Peru),
Antaras (in Peru) and Rondadores and Payas (in Ecuador). The wide array of chosen names is in accordance with the instruments’ regions of
provenance.  Some of the above named panpipes are single rowed such as the Antara, the Rondador and the Paya. 

Traditionally, two individuals divide the Zampoñas into its two separate rows of pipes IRA and ARCA.  Thus, one player alone does
not have the whole scale.  While one of the players is “breathing” the other player is playing and vice versa.  A great degree of synchronization
is required of the players to successfully accomplish this activity, which is known as jjaktasina irampi arcampi, in Aymara language or “being
in agreement between the IRA and the ARCA”.  The typical band or troupe of zampoñeros consists of twelve to sixty panpipe players, a bombo
and two snare drums.  The troupe divides into two equal groups of people.  They then separate the instruments into their two rows.  Songs are
performed in this manner by alternating the notes according to the pipes included in the row which they may be holding, producing a kind of
“stereo effect”. 

The Andean Indians probably devised the playing of the instrument in this fashion due to the high elevations of the Andean Mountains
in which they reside (at an average of 12,000 feet).  At such extreme altitudes, where the air is “very thin” (low concentration of oxygen), a
single player could rapidly hyperventilate and get quite dizzy while playing the instrument.  Aside from the practical rationale, the division of
playing between two players also correlates with the values of the Indian societies. For the inhabitants of the Altiplano, every aspect of life
and existence is defined by a communal attitude.  Thus, their music is also a group activity.  Since the Indians conceptualize music as a group
activity, the idea of a soloist is completely alien to them. This is still another manifestation of their community-based society.  In such a rugged
environment, the sense of community is absolutely integral to the concept of survival.

  • Some Conceptual Notes

The Zampoña is the oldest of the South American indigenous flutes. It is believed that as early as 5000 years ago this instrument was made out
of bamboo, stone, clay and the bones of animals.  From archeological findings it is apparent that in pre-Columbian times it only existed in
pentatonic form.  It was not until the arrival of the Europeans that Zampoñas acquired their most common, present-day tuning in G.  Clay
zampoñas were quite common well into the XVI century and throughout the colonial times they were fashioned with wood and metal.  During
the XVII century bamboo became the definite material for the instrument. Today aside from broadly generalized bamboo Zampoñas, there are
panpipes made out of wood, PVC pipe and even copper pipe and glass tubes. 

                 Some ethnomusicologists believe that the name of this family of instruments stems from a mispronunciation by the Indians of the word
symphony (sinfonía in Spanish).  The author of this book also believes it likely that the “Symphony” effect (in sound and numbers of people)
produced by a troupe of Zampoñeros, usually consisting of twelve to sixty players playing Zampoñas of all different sizes, may have impressed
and influenced the Spanish conquistadors and colonists into calling the troupe of Zampoñeros a “Symphony.”  The musical effect would have
reminded Europeans of the “Symphony” orchestras that they were accustomed to hearing back in Europe.  

Originally, zampoñas were used at religious ceremonies, in festivals, for dancing and courtship; their sound always haunting and reminiscent
of the wind.  Most surprisingly the Zampoñas were also destined for entertainment.  This was quite an accomplishment for the Incan society
and an exponent of its advanced civilization especially considering that the great majority of folk musics serve roles other than that of entertainment. 
Today their use within the region of the Andean countries has extended to include all kinds of genres of music and in the western world it has become
an indispensable sound/timbre in the realms of World and Jazz influenced music, television and movie soundtracks.

In recent years the capitals of the developing Andean countries have rapidly replaced the mountainous regions as the primary centers of
dispersion and development for the Zampoña.  In a process that started around the early seventies and due to radical changes in their economies,
poverty and centralization, these larger cities have experienced great migratory and urbanistic movements coming from the mountains that have
attracted musicians, sentiments, rhythms, themes and musical instruments from the Altiplano.  These new variables have now mixed with the more
electrified western-city sounds of the urban centers, bringing about a fresh infusion of indigenous influences.  This phenomenon has revitalized
the Andean region capitals and coastal cities and ultimately aided in the development of modernized Creole music while at the same time encouraging
the creation of newer musical forms.

  • A Musical, Historical and Cultural Context

            The earliest expressions of musical culture on the South American continent were recreations of the natural aboriginal environment. 
Resourcefulness was the key and the original inhabitants recreated the only music known then, the sounds of their native surroundings. They mimicked
the sounds of wind, rain, falling water, rushing water, lightning, thunder, heart beat, snakes, insects and a multitude of birds with the simplest of artifacts
and found objects including reeds, seeds, dried gourds, seashells, turtle shells, conches, pebbles, stones, animal bones, human bones, logs, bamboo and
animal skin. 

Bamboo was the material that most rapidly adapted to the newer musical developments.  Many flutes and panpipes made with bamboo reeds
appeared thousands of years before the Inca Empire.  Around 1100 A.D. when the Incas arrived to the heart of the South American Andes, most indigenous
wind instruments were already being used for hundreds of years.  Quenas and Zampoñas had become the most important elements of the music produced
by the nations inhabiting the Andean regions. 

The Incas reigned the whole of the Andes 300 years prior to and up until the Spanish invasion in the mid sixteenth century. They were an
extraordinarily civilized empire as well as a successful race of conquerors.  They managed to quickly conquer many nations that had existed for
thousands of years and subsequently assimilate them into their vast kingdom.  The Incan Empire was to become the largest empire of pre-Columbian
times in the Americas, spanning from southern Colombia in the north through Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Northern Chile in the south and Brasil in the east. 
They called their kingdom the Tawuantinsuyo or Four Corners of the World and their capital was named Cuzco or navel of the world.  Incan music was the
most varied and sophisticatedly developed music of the whole Americas.  Their melodies tended to be monadic and they would play them in antiphony. 
There is still a large debate among scientists regarding the pentatonic character of Incan music.  The Indians actually had instruments capable of producing
diatonic scales (such as the Quena).  Why would the Indians have instruments capable of producing diatonic scales if they were not to use them in their full

Given the absence of handwriting in the Inca Empire, music and song later emerged as the principal vehicle for passing on history, traditions,
religion and values from one generation to the next.  For instance, the oral medium during Inca times was comprised of poetry, theater, oral tradition and
most importantly music.  The Amautas or wise men had to recite short stories generation after generation to instruct the children as well as to remind elders
about their traditions. Important events were turned into verse by the poets and Haravecs (Inventors) in order to be sung at festivals or after victory.
Before the European invasion of South America, many styles of music had already emerged aided by the encounters, assimilation, and clashes of cultures
that took place during the centuries prior to the European advent.  As civilizations developed, expanded, matured and fell, literally hundreds of new rhythms
and instruments came about only in historical preparation to the encounter of two very different worlds.  

      Successive migrations, some cruel and devastating, some unwilling, and some welcome, each left their own unique, indelible stamp on the music
and culture of the South American continent.  The Spanish invasion brought about profound changes in the society, modes of production, religion and
music of the Andean societies.  As a result of the conquest, a new form of colonial government and slavery, the Spanish quickly forced the Inca society
into servitude and patronized the Indians into the adoption of Spanish culture, which allowed acculturation to occur rapidly.  The Indians adapted as
their own Spanish folk music forms, rhythms, harmonies, polyphony, military style drums and Spanish-influenced string instruments.  The conquerors
expected that by encouraging the Indians to play European music and instruments while outlawing Indian music it would prevent the natives from rebelling
because their music was such an integral element of their native culture. So integrally was music weaved within the life of the Indians that, in Quechua, the
most important language of the Andes, a word to designate the concept of music did not exist. 

African slaves forced from West Africa by the Spanish and Portuguese, contributed immensely to the culture, religion and music of the Americas. 
Hispanic Roman Catholicism allowed African culture and music to continue in ways somewhat reminiscent of the African homeland.  Call-and-respons­e
singing was allowed to persist, contributing to group-cohesiveness; on the other hand African people found their Indian counterparts to be culturally and
musically closer to their own. The African slaves and Indians blended their races and music over the centuries to create a multitude of rhythms and
instruments inspired by the African and Indigenous motherlands. African slaves juxtaposed their polyrhythms (layers of rhythms in one song) over the
indigenous melodies. At the same time new musical instruments such as skin drums made from logs (Andean Bombo), musical bows (the Brazilian
Berimbau), stringed instruments (the Banjo in the U.S.), and xylophones (Guatemalan Gourd Marimba) were created from those that were collectively
recalled from West Africa.  These hybrid musical forms can still be discerned today. 

The historic process of struggle against European colonialism and the ideals of the Independence movements’ transformations during the ensuing
centuries left an unmistakable trace on the content and context of the music.  The result is that South American music is today a complex blend of
native-indigenous, Euro-Iberian, West African—and most recently—North American influences. These voices mix with the lyrics, themes, sentiments and
rhythms of fading indigenous cultures.  Nowadays, many South American tribal groups are extinct, and much of the aboriginal music, like parts of the rain
forest, has disappeared.  In place of the silenced traditional musical expressions are new ones, themselves art forms, some joyful, some sad, but always
expressive like the passionate strive of their cultural survival. 

  • Sample Song:


     A          E-E-C        E         G-E         E          C     ………………..….………..(A)
   /    \       /           \     /    \     /        \     /     \     /     \
G       B-B              B         F#           D         D         B
Repeat (A) once
E-E-E-C-A                    F#-F#-A-A-F#       F#       A ……………..…………….…(B)
                  \                  /                        \    /     \    /
                   B-B-B-G-E                        G-E       G
E-E-E-C-A                      F#-F#-A-A-F#      ……….……………………...…….…(C)
                  \                    /                        \     
 B-B-B-G-E                           E  
E      G-E           A-A       F#        E        G-E        A-A       F#      E         E       E
  \    /        \       /       \    /     \    /     \    /      \      /       \    /     \   /    \    /    \   /
    F#          B-B         G         E        F#        B-B         G        E       E        E


Vocal Parts:
            Muchachita flor de cactus, pedacito de mi corazón (twice).
            Tu vas tejiendo aquel romance de nuestro cariño (twice).
            Flor de cactus illusion de amores, flor hermosa, illusion de amores.
            Repeat the whole song once.
(To end song repeat all zampoña parts twice at increasing speed)

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