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.


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

Notable artists

Eva Ayllòn
Tania Libertad was named an Ambassador for Peace by UNESCO, Commendatory by the Peruvian government.
Tania Libertad was named an Ambassador for Peace by UNESCO, Commendatory by the Peruvian government.

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.