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Land of winds > Instruments > Instrument | Issue 03. Jan.-Feb.2011
By Edgardo Civallero | Sara Plaza

rondador Andean instruments
The rondador

The rondador is a panpipe native to Ecuador and other varieties include the “capador” of Colombia. It consists of set of pipes (reed, condor feathers, bone, plastic, metal or clay) placed side by side in order by size, closed at the bottom and open at the top end. The number of pipes ranges from ten to fifty depending on the size of the instrument, and are arranged in a single row, fastened together with thread, wool or scraps of same reed.
What sets the rondador apart from other single row Andean panpipes (generally known as “antaras”) is that each “main” pipe is followed by a much shorter “auxiliary” pipe tuned a third lower, meaning that each note is harmonized with another note a third above or below it when the sound is produced in both pipes by blowing into them simultaneously. Rondador’s distinctive sound has to do with its characteristic saw-like profile, with a shorter (auxiliary) tube between two longer (main) tubes which decrease in length up the scale.
Another feature endowed to the instrument by traditional performers is called “glissando” and consists of sliding the mouth along several pipes blowing into them at once in a linked sequence. This effect, though quite used when playing other types of sikus, is best represented by the rondador. The outcome resembles the sound produced by those flutes used by knife-grinders to announce their presence in the streets of many European and Latin American towns and villages. The relationship between one another is also supported by the fact that the names “rondador” and “capador” are derived from their original usages: in Ecuador it was a flute used by the “rondadores” (watchmen who patrolled the streets at night), and in Colombia by those traveling from village to village, performing castration on swine and other domestic animals. Supposedly, the Quichua name of the rondador would have been wayra-phururu, but no trace has been found of it.
The instrument is widely spread from the Ecuadorian eastern rainforest (where it is referred to as “cantas”) to the western coast across the Andean range (where some groups name the small rondador “palla”). Among the customs associated with it is one called “arriscamiento”: to immerse the flute in “chicha” or “trago” (fermented grape-juice) to improve its sound quality.
Generally speaking, the rondador is a small instrument performed by the musician at the same time as a percussion instrument (bombo or chajchas) and its sound is high-pitched and crystalline, while larger varieties produce low and silky sounding tones.
This instrument is always expected in any folk ensembles from the Ecuadorian Sierra and it is closely connected to very popular musical rhythms from Ecuador such as the sanjuanito, the albazo and the danzante.
Given the particular technique used to play it and the curiosity prompted by its sound, the rondador has surpassed geographical boundaries. In addition there have been a lot of rondador soloists who have enlarged its traditional repertoire, spreading its sound across the world.

Rondador, in Wikipedia.

Picture 01: Rondador made of Condor feather quills.
Picture 02: Rondador made of Condor feathers.
Picture 03: Cane rondador.
Picture 04: Rondador performer.

Video: Different instrument from Ecuador, including a rondador made of Condor feathers and a 14 tube cane one [es]
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