Studies on Mexican Aerophones
Roberto Velazquez Cabrera
Virtual Research Institute
Mexican aerophones are wind musical instruments or resonators that can
generate sounds or noise with air jets and one or several chambers of
globular, tubular and other shapes like simple flutes and multi-tubes, flutes
with membranes, reed flutes, simple and multi-whistles, trumpets, horns,
cornets, noise generators and dead whistles that were developed during several
millenniums in Ancient Mexico. They can generate musical, natural, biological
and underworld sounds and signals of
including some of unknown use. They were made of a great variety on materials
like clay, cane, woods, bones, shells, carapaces, seeds, gourds, barks, metal
The Virtual Research Institute
Tlapitzcalzin is virtual because it exist only in the free servers of
Geocities-Yahoo and it does not dispose of other resources, but it has more
studies on ancient aerophones than any institution of the real world. Its
objective is to help to research and to recover the rich, millenary and singular
organology from Ancient Mexico that was lost, destroyed, forbidden, proscribed,
substituted and forgotten, as a result of the invasion, the conquest, the colonization, the
evangelization, the malinchism, the modernism, the globalization, the racism,
the ethnocentrism, the ignorance, the bureaucracy and the laziness, despite of
the independence and the revolution and the orderings of our laws to research
and to promote the prehispanic and indigenous cultures. The fine ancient
organological art and singular mexican sonorous technology has not been of the
interest of humanists and the extraordinary sonorous mexican technology neither has
been a matter of formal research of scientists and academic technicians. The
research of the organology and its ancient sonorous space opens a new window to
know more about the tastes, uses and customs of our ancestors and it is a
necessary way to recover and to benefit of that productive and cultural field,
which is singular in the history of the man kind.
The studies were posted openly for public and non lucrative consultation but
for educational aims, to diminish the unknowledge* and to get opinions from
related experts. They have been selffinanced and independent, because interested
moral and physical persons to support with resources this beautiful and rich
field of research were not found. Most of the studies are virtual or they were
made with experimental and mathematical models, because the museum's
administrators and curators have not been interested in the analysis of the
substantive function of the ancient sonorous goods and some of them are opposed
to their systematic and direct study. However, few direct analysis were made, because
some archaeologists allowed to examine ancient clay artifacts that were found in
The aerophones were selected, because they were found in great quantity in
operable conditions and to shorten the field of the study, with the purpose to
avoid the superficiality and to be able to make deep analysis. Furthermore, each
aerophone must be studied as deep as it is possible, if we want to recognize and
to rescue our rich organology and to explore its ancient sonorous space with
certain formality. It pretends to show that it is possible to recover the
ancient organology even in a virtual way and to make important discoveries and
significant correlations, even with only the access to public images of recovered
ancient sonorous artifacts and to their reproductions in the iconography, with
imagination, work and the aid of ancient and modern tools and methods.
Between the realized studies a thesis is included, in which a simple and low
cost methodology is proposed. The details of its instrumentation can be seen in
the specific studies of the links of the above list. Some important aerophones of other
zones were included to show that the methodology can be universal. The analysis
are original, because they belong to a new and beautiful field of research. They
are a very small sample of the studies that are possible to make on the
thousands of recovered ancient aerophones stored in museums, collections and
explorations and on the instruments that are played in rural areas, as well as on
the hundreds of experimental models that were made. The studies are
examples but they are important, because it was detected that, with the
exception of very few other cases, the rest of the mexican organology and those
of the great cultures from the exterior have not been scientifically analyzed or
studied considering the engineering point of view and using the tools of the
These studies are oriented to investigators and administrators related to the
study and diffusion of the ancient sonorous patrimony, mainly in the fields of:
acoustics, ancient "music", ancient organology, ancient physicoacoustics,
ancient sonic medicine or healing, ancient sonorous technology, ethnomusicology,
ancient musicology, ancient music, archaeology, bioacoustics, museography,
curatory, history, aesthetics, sculpture, ceramics, ancient art, construction
and conservation of ancient sonorous artifacts, ancient communications and
analysis of fluid's dynamics, waves, and complex ancient signals, and specially
for persons interested in the prehispanic cultures and technologies.
Studies on Ancient aerophones
Analysis of Gamitadera. Presented in the 6 Mexican Acoustic Congress,
- Análisis Acústicos
de Artefactos Sonoros de Viento del Mexico Antiguo. Presented in the 6
Mexican Acoustic Congress, Veracruz, 2000.
Stone Aerophone. Olmec whistle. presented in the International Computing
Congress CIC-2000, 2000, Mexico.
Years Old Olmec Aerophone.
- My First
Whistle. A noise generator of metal.
Flute Sound from China (9,000 years old).
of Ancient Mexico. Main ancient uses of the mexican organology, in one
Tlapitzalzintli (Little Flute) Mexica (Aztec) 130.
Analysis of Maya Whistles. (And Ocarinas). Presented in the 7 Mexican
Acoustic Congress, Oaxtepec, Morelos, 2001.
Methodology for the Analysis of Ancient Aerophones. Case: Four
Tlapitzalzintlis from Templo Mayor Museum. A shrort version was presented
in the 142 Acoustical Society of America (ASA) Meeting , Lauderdale, Florida,
- Making a
Little Mexica Flute from Templo Mayor, Mexico.
Magical Aerophone from the Olmec Infraworld?A short version was presented
in the 143 ASA Meeting. Pittsburgh, Pensilvania, 2001
Introduction to Mexican Wind Clay Singers (the invention of aerophones in
photos). The main sounding mechanisms and their possible evolution
Aerophones. The oldest playable tubes with a side hole and a stick inside.
Ancient Peruvian flutes.
Whistle. A natural whistle of California made on Quartz.
Whistles. A short version was presented in the First Pan-American/Iberian
Meeting of Acoustics, Cancun, 2002.
- Clay Frogs
of Yaxchilan. (short popular version).
This Lay Languaje
Paper is posted in the ASA World Wide Press Room.
- Making a
Dual Clay Whistle of Yaxchilan.
- Mexican Noise
Generators. It was presented in the First Pan-American/Iberian Meeting of
Acoustics, Cancun, 2002
Trumpets. Hom-Tah (Gourd Horns) of Bonampak. A short version was presented
as a special contribution in the First Pan-American/Iberian Meeting of
Acoustics, Cancun, 2002,
an Ocarina Niuñe (Mixtec).
- Making the
Gamitadera. By Hilary Kerrod.
- Clay singer
or Mictlantecuitli. Aerophone of the devil (diablo).
- Aerophone of
Maya aerophone of the death.
of the God L of Palenque?.
Ehekachiktli with air duct or air whistle.
Ehekachiktli with tubular air duct open resonating tube.
with Mirliton membrane.
Tubular Gamitadera with membrane.
- Ancient Noise Generators. 4th Symposium of the International Study Group on Music Archaeology at Monastery Michaelstein, 19-26 September 2004. Studien zur Musikarchäologie V, Orient-Archäologie 20. Rahden/Westf.
- Ancient Aerophones with Mirliton. 5th Symposium of the International Study Group on Music Archaeology at the Ethnological Museum, State Museums berlin, 12-23 September 2006. Studien zur Musikarchäologie VI, Orient-Archäologie Band 22. Rahden/Westf.
- Pre-columbian sounds. Video of Associated Press.
- Pre-columbian sounds in Youtube, by AOAVideos.
* The consultive papers can be used for non-lucrative educative and research
aims, with the mention of the authors and the source. To use the materiar with
lucrative aims it is necessary to get the previous permit of the authors.
Important announcement: The studies on Mexican Aerophones will be eliminated of these servers, because Yahoo has decided to close GeoCities later this year.