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 All You Need to Know About Incan


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The Incan empire was one of the
largest empires that emerged in the 16th century. Also known as the Inka or
Inca Empire was primarily occupied by the Inca people who initially conquered
pre-Columbian America. They originated from the Cusco region in the 12th
century and were considered pastoralists. From their origin story of the three
caves, they developed a history (oral). The three caves are referred to as
Tampa T’uqu, which was at the center, and was also known as Qhapaq T’uqu. On
either side were the other two caves, Maras T’uqu and Sutiq T’uqu. The caves
according to the people of the Inka community were crucial to the growth of the

According to the Incan oral History,
from the cave in the middle, four sisters and four brothers emerged. The brothers
were known to as Ayar Cachi, Ayar Awaqa, Ayar Uchu and Ayar Manco. On the other
hand, the names of the sisters were Mama Ocllo, Mama Raua, Mama Quran and
MamaHuaco. While the middle cave produced the brothers and sisters, the people
that stepped out of the other caves were those who were to be the ancestors of
the clans of the Incan empire. From this brief description is where the whole
story of how the Incan empire came into existence and developed to become of
the largest in the world.  

From the brothers, Ayar Manco was
known to own magic equipment that was made by use of gold. People would dwell
where the magic staff would stop or land. For this to happen, the Incan people
traveled for many years before they would settle. It is with this that they are
considered pastoralist. However, during their travels, Ayar Cachi acknowledged
himself the strongest and powerful. He would boast of the two values that he
was tricked to go back to the caves to retrieve a llama which was sacred by his
brothers. This was a way to rid him as he was locked into the caves.

While all this was taking place, Ayar
Uchu remained behind and would station himself at the cave tops. The purpose of
continuing behind was to take care of the people of the Incan empire. However,
he turned in to stone after he tried to proclaim the intention of staying back.
A shrine was constructed to preserve the rock. The sand was considered sacred.
The other brother, Ayar Auca would travel alone after the conflict and the
drama that took place. Those that remained were the four sisters and Ayar
Manco. However, the journey would not last long as the staff made of beautiful
gold would stick to the ground. 

The place at which the journey came
to an end was at Cusco. On the way, Ayar Manco and Mama Ocllo got a child whom
they named Sinchi Roca. With the help of Mama Huaca who was an excellent
worrier, the Incan people managed to secure the place (Cusco) from the people
who initially occupied the land. Ayar Manco was later known as Manco Capac, the
sole founder of the Incan empire. He and his sisters developed the Cusco area
before he would turn into stone like his brothers. His heir was his son Sinchi
Roca. And that’s how the empire came into existence.


In most ancient and modern communities,
music was part of the cultural practices. The Incan population was also not
left behind as they had there owned music made from instruments they made. From
various research works, it was found that the Incan people used flutes, drums,
bells, and panpipe. Apart from the mentioned instruments they also had the
Andean. The panpipe and the Andean were the most used instruments during the
traditional ceremonies to make the Peruvian music. The Incan believed that
playing music during traditional ceremonies would keep alive animal souls.
Therefore, the valued music and the instruments used to make the music.

The Incas had two types of
instruments used in making the music. They were categorized into the wind and
the percussion instruments.


Bombo: this a drum wooden made from
animal skins and a hollow tree trunk. The surface comes from sheep or the llama
which covers the cow’s skin on the inner side.

Wancara: this is a big round drum
also made from animal skin used to produce a bass sound.

Tynya: is the smaller of the two
mentioned above. It is in the shape of a wancara and was played by women. 

Chajchas or Chullus: It is an
instrument made of goat hooves that have been dried and tied to form a ribbon.


The wind instruments include flutes
and the panpipes. The panpipes are further dividing into smaller instruments
like the antaras, ocarinas, fukuda, siku, and rondador.

Rondador: this is a musical
instrument that has pipes made in a pentatonic manner. The origin of the rondador
is from the northern region of the empire (Ecuador and Peru) and is almost
similar to the antaras.

Antares: this instrument consists of
pipes made in one row. The tubes are cylindrical and are made of clay that is
held in place by a cotton thread. The pipes are arranged from biggest to
smallest to form a triangle like structure. However, with time, bamboo pipes
were preferred other than the clay ones due to the delicate nature of the clay.

Siku: made of light reeds (songo),
the instrument originated from the highland areas near Titicaca Lake. The weeds
were obtained from the banks of the water source and made into two rows
separately. One end would be left open while the other would be closed. Each
row contained six pipes arranged horizontally and were tied together with a

Apart from the above mentioned, other
wind instruments were the pinkillo and the quena which resembles a flute. Also,
there was a pututu made from a seashell and sounded like a trumpet.

of music by the Inca

The community used music for various
purposes. However, the most common method of music was during the religious
ceremonies and functions. The music was accompanied by dances to enlighten the
mood and give people a joyful moment. Also, music was used to mark the various
agricultural events. Music was used during celebrations and also during working

of Quechuas

The Quechua community is made up the
indigenous individuals that occupied Ecuador, Argentina, Peru, Columbia, and
Chile. They communicated by use of the Quechua languages. The common language
was the southern Quechan dialect. Despite the difference in linguistics, they
share so many cultural aspects. They have established agriculturalist with a
stable economy. However, the primary binding factor from the south Americas
Quechua communities was the language that is widely spoken in the region.


of Aymaras

They are an indigenous group of
people that originate from the Andes. Some of the individuals of the community
were also located in the Altiplano area. Just like the Quechuas they occupy
most of South America and share some of the cultural activities. However, they
were chased from their place of occupation by the Inca people in during the
15th and 16th century.  They currently
occupy modern Peru and Bolivian nations.

of Andean Music across South America

The Andean communities from South
America are known for a wide range of music styles.  The Aymaras, Quechuas and other cities that
occupied the Andes region of the Inca empire had well-developed melodies and
chants. With the aid of Spanish elements of music, the people created a
different variety of music for different purposes.  The genre of music practiced by the Andeans
includes the Carnavalito, Diablada, Tinku, San Juanito, Huayno, Afro-Bolivian
Saya and the Chicha.


Background info

The carnavalito is a traditional
dance from the South American regions of Altiplano and puna. The dance is
accompanied by music and is practiced during the festive religious
seasons.  It is believed that the dance
existed long before Spanish came to the region. Americans who had come into
contact with the community people danced to the music routine. It was initially
classified as a dance, but over time it became a music genre due to the use of
musical instruments. Some of the devices used include the siku, bombs, and the


The music genre mostly happens during
the festive religious seasons as a way of celebrating and praising their gods.
As stated above, the sensuality was accompanied by the bombs, siku and the
quena. The form of dance can be considered as a syncretism between two cultures
involving the Spanish colonial culture and the indigenous culture.


Background Info

Also known as the Danza de los
Diablos is a dance routine originally from a Bolivian region known as Oruro.
Despite origination from Bolivia, the dance also found its way to Chile where
is known as La Tirana, and in Peru where it is commonly referred to as Puno. In
these countries, the dance can be used an s symbol of the indigenous cultural


In English term, the dance is
referred as the demon dance, and is characterized by the use of devil suits and
mask worn by those taking part in the dance. 
The music was made by use of the Suki during the performance. It was
believed to be a mixture of the Spain theatrical presentation and the Andean
ceremonies (religious ceremonies). The purpose of this music dance was to honor
the rituals to the gods. An example was the Llama llama dance routine for
pleasing the Uru god (Tiw).


Background info

Tinku originates from the Aymara
community in Bolivia. It was a ritual which meant to encounter or meet. This
explains the routine which brought together people from different cities to
dance to the ritual songs.   The ceremony
is primarily held in May in an area known as Potosi in Bolivia.


From the meaning of Tinku, we get to
know what the ritual is like. It is during this time that men and woman gather
around. It should be remembered that the people come from different places and
only meet during the ritual. The women will form a circle like structure and
start singing, and in the middle of it, the men would engage in fighting. On
rare occasions, women would join the fight. Panpipes are used to create the
melodies during the ritual.


Background info

The musical genre has its origin in
many countries in South America. The nations include Peru, Ecuador, and
Columbia. However, according to Pedro Traversari and Gabriel Ceballos who were
scholars, the music genre originated from San Juan de Iluman which is located
in the province of Imbabura. The san Juanito was mainly danced during the
solstice celebrations in the winter. It went along with the Saint John’s feast
of the Spanish people hence the name San Juanito.


The melodies in this musical genre
are bimodal and are made by the use of drums and flutes. The popularity of the
San Juanito is that it is heard in major cities and not only in native
communities as compared to other genres.


Background info

This is one of the most popular
genres of music and dance that has its origin from the Andes highlands. It is
commonly played in Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador. However, in the recent days, it
has spread to Argentina and Chile. It is from colonial Peru that the Huayno
developed from the urban dances and the traditional music (folk songs). The
Quechua people are known for practicing this kind of music and dance.


The music was made from some musical
instruments blended to produce a target melody. The tools used include siku,
sharp, quena, violin, saxophone lute, mandolin and the charango. For the huayno
to efficiently work, the original beat is emphasized, which is then succeeded
by a short hit.


Background info

Just like most of the music genre,
the Saya has its origin from Bolivia in a region known as Yungas. The area is
made up of afro-descent individuals. What the name says is derived from a
Kikongo word, meaning a singing voice during collective work. It was taken as
work song sag by enslaved individuals from Africa who were brought to South
America. What Afro-Bolivian saya is as a result of the mixture of both the
African and the native Bolivian communities’ culture?



The dance involves caporales, where a
male would be identical to his near counterpart.  They dress in caporal attires which are
constricting and very big. However, there is saya uniform designed by a light
material. The purpose of more bright clothing is to allow swift movement of the


Background info

The chicha music began in the 1960sin
the Peruvian Amazons in the cities of oil. The genre was inspired by the
Columbian cumbia. The music is a fusion of the number of music versions. They
include rock music, the huayno, and the Columbian genre.


Chicha music is a distinct form of
Andean melody that incorporates some musical sounds and instruments. The
instruments used to make this music include the surf guitar, Cuban percussion,
and the Moog synthesizer. 

of foreign cultures

The different genre of music found in
the South America nations developed mainly to the interaction of different
people from different backgrounds. The cooperation led to the growth of a whole
new culture within the people. Apart from the mingling of people, there were
also foreigners who came to the regions with their unique culture. This led to
the drastic changes in the Andean community and culture as a whole. Some of the
foreigners came from Spain, America, Japan, and Africa. Before the European
contact, original melodies and chants were created from the communities that
occupied the Inca Empire. These were the Quechuas and the Aymaras among others.

Spaniard influence on Andean music

Spaniards were among the few
travelers who toured the South American nations in the ancient days. Their
arrival came with an impact on the regions way of life. They came with a whole
lot of new culture that influenced the Andean music and language. Despite
having beautiful melodies of traditional music composed by the people of the
land, the Spaniard came with a new culture that was adopted by the Andean
people. The Spaniards arrived in 1520’s. Their arrival had a more considerable
influence on the music style of the people in the area. They introduced the
string which was used to make new musical instruments. The introduction led to
the development of new tools with both a tradition and Hispanic blend. The
devices were adopted and finally considered as Andean music instruments. Some
of them include the small mandolin, which was made from an armadillo shell, and
the charango.

When the Spaniard introduced the
string, it was like a stepping stone to the invention of some musical
instruments. Only that these new tools were made of the traditional materials
and then blended with the string. A perfect example of the development from the
introduction of series was the Andean harp. It was created in a way that it
resembles a boat, with a half conical melodious box. The string was the
ultimate factor in the production of the sound.

Apart from coming up with string
instruments, they also set up schools where they taught the western culture.
The new culture that was shown included religion and Spanish music. Part of the
sessions taught was playing and making of guitars, violin, and the harp. The
Andean music style blended well with the instruments, which was like
advancement from the quena and panpipe. This made the Andean music to thrive as
it was taught widely through the region.

Japanese influence on the Andean music

The Japanese were another of traveler
or individual who had an impact on the Andean music.  From Bruno Nettl’s work, The Western Impact
on Worlds Music, he explained the changes, survival, and adaptation that aided
in the development of the framework of musical cross-pollination. Within the
work, we get to understand how a non-Western county like Japan would impact the
Andean music. The relationship between Japan and Bolivia music can be
classified as uncomplicated. They have a history of shared of imperial and
racial oppression. This makes them a little analytical impact value in their
connection musically.

The impact of Japanese on the Andean
music comes as a result of the transitional cultural flow. Where the Japanese
culture had a change due to the Bolivian music and at the same time, the Andean
people developed a tone and rhythm that was adopted from the Japanese cultural
elements. However, most studies suggest that the Japanese culture was greatly
influenced by the flow of the Andean music. 
They mainly assumed most of the Andean musical instruments and melodies.
Despite being indigenous, the Bolivian music found its way in the Japanese

African influence on the Andean music

The importance of African on the
Andean music cannot be underestimated. In fact, they have had a music genre
developed from some of their cultural practices. Africans reached the South
American continent as black slaves. They were brought from different parts of
Africa making their music unique as their music was a blend of different
regional tunes. Their coming to the South American nation, therefore, has had
an enormous impact that resulted in the development of the Afro-Bolivian Saya.
The Africans ways of composing music blended with the Spanish and Andean
rhythm. This created a music criolla, and also, dances were developed along the
music.  The music came to be known as the
Afro-Andean music. Some of this music was used during collective work by the
black slaves. The music was later identified as saya which meant a singing
voice during cooperative work.

An example of African influence in
Peru is the Zamacueca, which is an African dance that accompanied the music
composed. To date, the dance has become a precursor to the marinara and states
elegance to be a national dance in the region. 
The dance is accompanied by the Afro-Andean music during competitions
(marinara dance competition) which attract travelers from all over the world.

American influence on the Andean music

The American just like the Japanese,
Africans and the Spaniards also influenced the Andean music. Considering they
were the closest to the South American region, their effect was greatly felt
compared to the other influencers stated above. Their influence, however, is
not of much difference compared to the Spaniards. When they came to the regions
of South America, they began to teach the western culture which included the
spread of a new religion and culture. Music was part of the new culture that
was to be prepared to the people. A school for music was part of the American
development, traditional and modern music was blended to release a new version.

Apart from teaching music and coming
up with new instruments, the Americans also came with the concept of recording
and releasing the songs made by the Andeans. The music was considered one of
the best of its times, so there was a need to spread to other parts. Also, the
Americans came up with the idea of holding concerts where Andean music would be
sung. In the event, various band groups emerge that aimed to promote the Andean
music. Despite the musical development in the region, traditional instruments
were still used and were blinded by the new ones that were brought along by the
travelers. New rhythms and beats were created, and the new genre of music came

Effects of Andean Music Today

The Andean music has proven to affect
modern life. Despite being traditional, the music created a platform where
people could be entertained through music. Up to today, people visit the South
American countries for entertainment and also to perform certain rituals. The
music also became the mother of concerts. People would gather around to see the
performance of the Andean music. This was carried up to date where shows have
become common. Andean music has brought about the development of music groups;
bands have developed singing a blend of Andean and modern music. Lastly, the
Andean music has led to the development of the various genre of music in the
current world. Through its influence, different individuals have acquired ideas
from the music form and come up with pop, raps and other types of genre blended
with the Andean music. 

Use of Western Instruments in Andean

Western musical instruments are the
kinds that were introduced to an indigenous community by travelers mostly from
Europe and America. When classified these tools are the latest versions that
have special modifications compared to the traditional kinds of instruments. It
is not necessarily that the device is modified, but they can also be made from
traditional instruments only that modern equipment is fitted to enhance the
performance. Despite the Andean communities having their musical instruments,
the introduction of the western tools still had a significant impact on the
music lifestyle. There use adapted to suit the Andean music.

One of the uses of the western music
in the Andean music was to produce musical sounds to blend with the song being
sung.  The western instruments
complemented the traditional music instruments in producing specific beats to
provide a rhythm that brings out the nature of a song. Also, the western
musical tools would be used to entertain the audience. Music was not only made
by singing while playing the instruments, but some form of music was also made
by just blending the traditional and western apparatus for entertainment. Some
of the instruments were made to emulate certain sounds. These Instruments are
those that were used for ritual purposes in the Andean music. Some instruments
were used as signals during a performance.

Modern Andean music

There has been a drastic change in
the Andean music in the current times due to changes that have taken place to
the Andean culture and society as a whole. The increased social awareness by
the natives also has in the South American countries has also enhanced the
spread of new ideas, therefore, changing the musical aspects and approaches.
Ever since this breakthrough, there had been a significant growth of artists
and bands singing the Andean music. The music has been blended with the western
instruments and culture. Modern Andean music has also been recorded and sold as
albums to different parts of the world. Apart from selling recorded music,
concerts have been put up to promote the growth of the music. Some of the
groups that have grown through the modern Andean music include Grupo Aymara,
Quechua singer, and the Los Caracas. These artists and many others took the
music to different parts of the world due to their popularity.

Andean music popularity

Once used only for spiritual and
religious purposes in the Inca community in South America, the Andean music
presently has become more popular than before. With the growth of a new artist
and the influence from the western countries, Andean music has taken the world
by a storm. Concerts are held in different parts of the world where the music
has been improved to suit a particular audience. More of recorded albums of the
Andean music is bought all over. This means that the popularity of the music in
modern times has risen as compared to the past times where it was only
restricted to the Inca empire.

Influence on other Hispanic music

The Andean music has greatly
influenced other Hispanic form of music which includes the Spanish, Nueva
Cancion, and the Cumbia.


This type of music was practiced as a
courtship dance within the African people who occupied the Caribbean
coast.  It later developed into a music
form as it incorporated the European and Andean instruments.  The growth of the Cumbia was highly
dependable on the Andean musical instruments. It also follows the musical steps
and characteristics of the Andean music. Its spread was too dependent on some
of the Andean musicians.


This is Hispanic music genre from
Iberian America. It entails lyrics composed of folks inspired styles which were
committed socially. Just like in the Cumbia version, the Andean music was
essential in the growth and spread of the Nueva Cancion. It was easier to blend
this genre of music with the Andean music as both would involve traditional
like approach. The later uses some of the Andeans music intonation in the
formation of different kinds of rhythms.


The Andean and Spanish music has some
similarities. This is because at one point the Andean music was inspired by the
Spaniard who traveled to the South American countries. However, the Andean
music has had a more significant influence on the Spanish music in the sense
that most instruments used by Spanish musicians have an Andean origin. The
beats and rhythm of both music styles are almost similar. Most of the Spanish
musicians tend to emulate the Andean music style.


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