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History of the Andean music
    Land of winds > Music > History | Issue 16 (Sep.-Oct. 2013)
    By Edgardo Civallero | Sara Plaza

The guitar, the guitarrón and the tiple

The guitar, the guitarrón and the tiple

The guitar, the guitarrón and the tiple are string instruments derived from the medieval vihuela, the Renaissance guitar and other chordophones brought to America by Europeans during the conquest and colonization of those lands (16th century).

Within the Andean region's traditional and popular music, the guitar has played an important role as an accompaniment instrument and a minor role as solo instrument. In its role as a major background instrument, the guitar is present in most of the mestizo folk music genres, ranging from Colombian bambucos and torbellinos to the Chilean cuecas and tonadas, the Peruvian chuscadas and huaynos, Bolivian chuntunquis and Argentine bailecitos. It also appears in modern versions of traditional styles such as tarkeadas, sikureadas or pinkilladas.

As a solo instrument, the guitar has not only made an important contribution to the legacy of many rhythms and styles, but has also developed its own repertoire (for "Andean guitar") with a particular emphasis on certain music genres, thanks to the efforts and skills of local musicians. The "quiteña" (from Quito) and "ayacuchana" (from Ayacucho) guitar schools are two of the most renowned in the Andes.

The "quiteña" school was established in Ecuador in late 19th century, and not only includes the city of Quito but also the central and northern Sierra. Big names within this musical current are Marco Tulio Hidrobo Cevallos and Bolívar "Pollito" Ortiz (Los Corazas, Los Nativos Andinos, Alma Nativa), Segundo José Guaña Acuña, Julio Andrade and Segundo Bautista. Besides playing pieces that enable string instruments to speak for themselves (i.e. the pasillo) these musicians also introduced the guitar into the sanjuanito, the yumbo and the yaraví for the first time.

Video 01. Marco Tulio Hidrobo's "Al besar un pétalo" (pasillo), by E.M.P. "Julio Jaramillo".
Video 02. "Oye mujer", by Bolívar "Pollito" Ortiz.
Video 03. "Tatuaje" (pasillo), by Segundo Guaña.
Video 04. "La guitarra popular ecuatoriana", by Julio Andrade (part 1).
Video 05. "La guitarra popular ecuatoriana", by Julio Andrade (part 2).

In Peru, the homeland of some of the best Andean guitar players, the "ayacuchana" school is represented by Raúl García Zárate, Manuelcha Prado Alarcón, Julio Humala Lema, Daniel Quirhuayo Álvarez and Alberto Juscamayta Gastelú ("Raqtaqo") among others. Their peculiar playing style, similar in many ways to that of musicians on the harp and the violin from Ayacucho and its surroundings, can be best appreciated when playing local music genres like the huayno or the music accompanying the "Danza de las tijeras" (Scissors dance).

Video 06. Raúl García Zárate.
Video 07. "Chiki tuku", by Manuelcha Prado.
Video 08. "Aymoray", by Julio Humala.
Video 09. "Mauka zapato", by Daniel Quirhuayo.
Video 10. "Toto asa", by Alberto Juscamayta Gastelú.

However, the so called "ayacuchana" is not the only guitar tradition in Peru: virtually every and each department has its own, though most of them remain unknown to the public at large. There were and there are great composers and performers in Cusco, such as Pablo Ojeda Vizcarra and his disciple Ronald Contreras Zegarra; in Cajatambo (department of Lima), David Vega Rivera; or in Cajamarca, Abel Velásquez Zavaleta.

Video 11. Pablo Ojeda Vizcarra's "Kuntur", "Urpillay", and "Fiesta cusqueña", by Ronald Contreras.
Video 12. "Valicha", by Ronald Contreras.
Video 13. "Benditas las madres", by David Vega.
Video 14. "Carnavales cajamarquinos", by Abel Velásquez Zavaleta.

There are other guitar players who favour a much modern and integrative orientation when playing this chordophone. Clear examples are Javier Echecopar Mongilardi, Ricardo Villanueva, Javier Molina Salcedo or Riber Oré.

Video 15. "Melodías virreinales del siglo XVIII", by Javier Echecopar.
Video 16. "Río Santa", by Ricardo Villanueva.
Video 17. "Montonero arequipeño", by Javier Molina Salcedo.
Video 18. "Huaynos ayacuchanos", by Riber Oré.

In Bolivia, big names are the guitar player Rafael Arias Paz, regarded as "la primera guitarra criolla de Bolivia" (Bolivia's first criolla guitar), and Alfredo Domínguez, famous member of Los Jairas.

Video 19. Rafael Arias.
Video 20. "Vida, pasión y muerte de Juan Cutipa", by Alfredo Domínguez.

In Argentina there is a long and rich guitar tradition in the folk music landscape. Emblematic musicians have always included pieces from the country's Andean traditional music in their repertoire. Some of the best known composers and performers from yesterday's and today's musical scene are Atahualpa Yupanqui, Carlos Di Fulvio, Hernán Figueroa Reyes and Chito Zeballos.

Video 21. "Huajra", by Atahualpa Yupanqui.
Video 22. "Coquena", by Carlos Di Fulvio.
Video 23. "Anocheciendo zambas", by Hernán Figueroa Reyes.
Video 24. "Vidalita riojana", by Chito Zeballos.

Famous names in Chile's folk scene are the guitarists Horacio Salinas, Margot Loyola, Benjamín MacKenna and the Parra's well-known branch of musicians and poets (from Violeta to Isabel, Ángel, Nicanor or Lautaro). The Chilean guitar has many traditions including the so called "guitarras casadas": guitars duo which includes a transposing instrument.

Video 25. "La música de Horacio Salinas", by Horacio Salinas [full album].
Video 26. "Memoria del cantar popular", by Violeta Parra [full album].
Video 27. "Ángel Parra y su guitarra", by Ángel Parra [full album].
Video 28. "El caballo del diablo", by Lautaro Parra [full album].

The guitar, the guitarrón and the tiple

The Chilean guitarrón has a long and colourful history, and many popular musicians have become a part of it. Some of those names have become legendary. Among them are guitarrón players like Manuel Saavedra, Osvaldo Ulloa, Santos Rubio Morales, Juan de Dios Reyes, Lázaro Salgado, Pedro Yáñez, Miguel Galleguillos and Isaías Angulo. Contemporary players of this instrument include Santos and Alfonso Rubio Morales, Luis Ortúzar Araya, José Gervasio Acevedo, Osvaldo Ulloa, Juan Pérez Ibarra, Manuel Sánchez and Manuel Saavedra.

Book. "Renacer del guitarrón chileno", by AGENPOCH [es].

Video 29. "El guitarrón chileno. Herencia musical de Pirque", featuring Manuel Saavedra, Osvaldo Ulloa, Santos Rubio Morales, Juan Pérez Ibarra and Alfonso Rubio Morales [full album].

The guitar, the guitarrón and the tiple

The tiple has also a long history, back at least to the beginning of the 19th century. In these two centuries there were many composers and performers, both popular and scholar, whose work contributed to the development of its musical tradition. One of the most outstanding figures of all time was Francisco Benavides Caro, inspiring musician and great ambassador of the music he played on this Colombian instrument. Today's scene is really vibrant with lots of tiple players: Gustavo Adolfo Renjifo Romero, Paulo Andrés Olarte Rendón, Faber Eduardo Grajales, David Heincken, Luis Miguel Duque and Oriol Caro, but also Gustavo Adolfo Salazar, Víctor Hugo Reina Rivera, Fabián Gallón and David Puerta Zuluaga.

Article. "Los intérpretes del tiple" [es].

Video 30. "Caballito de Ráquira", by Gustavo Adolfo Renjifo.
Video 31. "El pescador", by Paulo Andrés Olarte.
Video 32. "Si usted es", by Faber Eduardo Grajales.
Video 33. "Tonada del silencio", by David Heincken.
Video 34. "Bambuco en La menor", by Oriol Caro.
Video 35. "El diablo suelto", by Fabián Gallón.

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