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Traditional Colombian Music and Instruments


It has long been recognized that many countries, ancient and modern, have their style of music, or at least try to impose a national stamp on this art. The Republic of Colombia is fortunate to have fascinating and intriguing music themes, recently featured in Emilo Murillo’s songwriting and the full orchestration of Andres Martinez Montoya, both well-known composers of renowned republics (Murillo 34). Nevertheless, the essay discusses:

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  • Introduction of the first songs in Colombia.
  • Major category themes of traditional Colombian songs.
  • Traditional Colombian instruments. The essay discusses the Accordion, Guacharaca, Tip, Tambura, and Gaita instruments.

It is thought that the first songs were introduced in Colombia by people from Africa who worked in the mines and large agricultural areas. These workers sang beautifully and loudly, attracting those who admired the songs. In the United States, it is known that the most beautiful songs are those of the south. However, Colombian Bambuco has a background that sets it apart from other genres of music. Moreover, when one listens to the same music nowadays, no talented artist has changed it so far or adapted it to become more cultivated music and less popular than the ones sung and played by the natives (Murillo 34). It can be said that this design marks the first such transformation of Bambuco.

Colombian musical themes are mainly known for their richness in cultural heritage. These themes are a vital part of Colombian culture. The major musical themes of Colombian nature are Bambuco, based on the whole rhythm though unusual; torbellino, bambuco, bunde, pasillo, and guabina (Murillo 34). These are all beautiful rhythms, whether verbal or instrumental. It is impossible to put down the first three in music writing, as this is not enough to show the character, in a figurative sense, of this kind of music, the rhythm of which is harmoniously harmonized.

Traditional Colombian Instruments

Musical instruments are created with a purpose, although existing tools can be used as instruments. For instance, an object that can produce a sound can be an instrument. However, there must be a sense of sound and the desire to create (Montagu 1). Nevertheless, the clapping of hands, use of a few sticks or stones to make musical sounds might be the origin of musical instruments. The discussed musical instruments are considered vital to Colombian culture.


The instrument is assumed to have been in Colombia for the first time in the 1800s. Legend has it that the accordion was rescued from a German shipwreck on the Magdalena River. The accordion became a nation’s backbone instrument for Colombian folk music. Accordions are also found in cumbia music (Colombia). Moreover, it is considered to be the most purchased instrument in Colombia. They are the musical instruments that have inspired world music. In addition, Colombia hosts the world’s largest accordion playing tournament.


Guacharaca is a metal instrument consisting of a tube with poles carved out, and a portion of it folded. It was invented around the 20th Century on the northern coast of Colombia by the Tairona people. It is made from the trunks of small palm stem. Its sound is one of the most adored since it mimics the singing of the guacharaca bird (Colombia). The guacharaca player is known as the guacharaquero.


The tiple is a small guitar first played by local artists and now by famous people worldwide. It was invented in the 18th Century. It is also known to have many variations compared to the first tiples made. Tiple is often played near the tambourine and is an important part of Colombia’s rural heritage (Colombia). It is said to have been brought by Spanish conquistadores to the New World.

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Tambora is a large bass drum popular with Colombian communities, mostly played with a baqueta. The tambora is made of tree bark and is covered with goat or sheepskin. Tambora is important when playing cumbia music, and a music genre performed using drums and claves. It is mainly used by performers when performing traditional rituals. Tambora is widely known since all Colombian communities use it (Colombia). These traditions are transmitted passed over to generations.


The gaita, an indigenous wind instrument, contains cactus with feathers at the end and holes for different notes. It is a long wooden tube with a head made of beeswax and vegetable charcoal, cut with a turkey feather. It is thought to have been played by the Kogi people for the first time (Colombia). The gaita is also commonly known as the “Colombian bagpipe”, as it sounds like the Spanish drums.


In totality, I refer to traditional Colombian music as the most beautiful music that should never be far from every Colombian heart. Colombia’s passion for music indicates how music culture is essential to Colombian communities. As aforementioned, Colombia’s music has a rich cultural heritage as their traditional instruments are. Their taste for music is excellent. It is not surprising when the music experts are more interested in Colombian music.

Work Cited

Colombia. “Traditional Colombian Instruments: Marca País Colombia.” Colombia Country Brand, 2021, Web.

Montagu, Jeremy. Origins and development of musical instruments. Scarecrow Press, 2007.

Murillo, Emilio. “Indigenous Music in Colombia.” Bull. Pan Am. Union 57 (1923): 34.

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