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Machu Picchu is a mix of many cultures with many different traditions including Inca, Peruvian, and Amazonian heritage. The combination of Peruvian music and dance, accompanied by the food and traditions of ancient Incas makes Machu Picchu a place to remember.


The music that is involved in Machu Picchu is a combination of colorful dressing from modern day Peruvian style, along with dances that date back to when the Incas still owned this magnificent area of land. Below are two Peruvian music pictures; hover your mouse over the picture to see more.

Traditional Inca dancers in costume. Colorful, dress like garments. Two people playing flutes, one playing a big drum. (first) (second)

The first important part of Machu Picchu music are the instruments themselves. There are many different types of musical instruments that are used in these cultures including the ocarina, the antara, and the charango.

First of all, we have the ocarina. The ocarina is a small, egg like wind instrument with a mouthpiece and holes for the fingers. The the first known ocarina appeared about 1200 years ago, tracing back to South and Central America, Mayan, Aztec, and Inca culture. They were originally formed out of clay and were designed to mimic the structures of animals or birds. When played the ocarina can sound similar to a flute, making similar pitches and sounds. If you hover your mouse over the picture above, there is an example of an ocarina.

Next, we have the "charango". The charango is the national instrument of Peru. It has five strings and is similar to a mandolin or ukulele. If played as a plucking instrument, a harp-like quality is incorporated, but can have a stronger and more rhythmic sound if played as a strumming instrument. The first instrument that resembled a charango came to be around the end of the 17'th century, taking place of the previously famous "vihuela". The instrument was called a"guitara espanol". Around the same time that the guitara espanol was becoming popular, the charango was also being created. Unlike it's close cousin however, the charango had 5 sets of two strings instead of 4.

a guitar looking instrument with five strings. On a white background, slightly shadowed in the background.

Finally, we have the antara. The antara is a flute-like instrument with multiple pipes connected to one another. This creates requirements for whoever is playing the antara to have similar skills for playing both the harmonica and the flute.The earliest created antara dates back all the way to 4200 B.C, stretching all the way from South Africa to Canada. The amazing country that also contains the magnificent mountainMachu Picchu (Peru) has been scientifically proven as the country of origin for the antara. Most people play the antara by standing, but both standing and sitting positions can work for playing as long as your posture is straight. The antara has a vast range of possibilities in terms of sounds. The multiple, pipe-like flutes make it so that there are up to 32 different sounds officially! This does not even account for the multiple possibilities that can be added by blowing at different pitches. In other words, the antara is one of the most diverse instruments in terms of pitch and sound.

a triangular looking instrument with multiple, flute like pipes connected to one another forming a line. Ranges from shorter to taller, with the shortest pipe on the left.