One of the earliest instruments of the Americas, ancient Panpipes or Panflutes have been excavated from South America all the way north to Canada, with oldest known examples dating back to 4200 BC. Peru is deemed the origin of this gorgeous instrument, and modern Andean panpipes, which may be called Siku, Antara or Zampoña, are very popular today across the continents and around the globe.
Reed, cane, ceramic, condor quill and bone panpipes have been found across the Andes, into the Central American territories of the Maya and Aztec civilizations, to the Cahokia complex on the Mississippi River, to the Ohio River Valley site of the Hopewell Tradition. Believed to have been used for everything from ceremonial rites to personal expression, the distribution of this multi-tubed woodwind is truly impressive.
When we use the words Pan Pipes or Pan Flutes to describe this instrument, we are using European terminology, referencing the Greek god of rustic music, Pan. Panflutes have a long history in both Europe and Asia, but indigenous instruments of this type have their own terminology.
Siku, Antara or Zampoña
Native to the Andes, which extend through the states of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela, the Siku is also referred to in Quechua as the Antara, or in Spanish as the Zampoña (meaning 'tubes'). Variations in the construction of these instruments are many. The Siku is thought to have originated in Peru, most closely associated with the Aymara speaking peoples who live around Lake Titicaca. It is of small surprise, considering the amazing boats historically built of the strong totora reeds indigenous to the large lake, that the local culture would develop complex tubular woodwinds. Today, most Siku are made of bamboo. Andean Panpipes may have one to three rows of tubes and come in a wide variety of sizes including:
How Difficult Is It To Play The Indigenous Panpipes?
The main challenge facing the beginner is developing the correct mouth position for playing this multi-tubed instrument. The tubes are held against the chin and air is blown across the rim of the desired tube. In some types of Native Panpipes, two tubes are played simultaneously to achieve a harmony. Once you have developed a correct method of blowing across the tops of the tubes, you will familiarize yourself with the scale of your particular type of Zampoña and be able to begin picking out melodies to play.
Today, some panflutes are concert tuned to make them playable with other Western instruments. When purchasing your Indigenous Panflute, materials may be listed simply as Bamboo.
For more interesting facts about Panflutes, visit Native Flutes Walking.
This is a video in Spanish that teaches how to play the Zampoña.
Profesor Jose Luis Gonzales. Telefono 99745701
This video is a tutorial for how to play the song “The sound of Silence”
This video is a tutorial for how to play the song “over the rainbow”