The harp


The current Ecuadorian music mainly results from the interaction of the three most important ethnic-cultural groups from Ecuador: Native Americans, Mestizes and Afro-Americans. Furthermore the influence of the Anglo-American music from the Caribic and Latin Amerika, preliminary from Columbia, Bolivia, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela.

The diatonic European harp was brought to America by the Spanish catholic missionaries in the 16th century and has become to one of the most popular instruments of Latin America in the course of the last centuries. Each country where the harp is being played developed its own type, showing different characteristic technique. Today the harp can be found especially in Mexico, Venezuela, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Paraguay where it has become a national instrument.

The Ecuadorian harp – a diatonic instrument – which is played only by a few musicians and exclusively in the provinces Tungurahua and Imbabura has been classified into 4 manners:

  • The folkloric harp
  • The hybrid harp
  • The imbabureña harp
  • The Ecuador-Paraguay harp
  • The modern harp

At present the most common harp is the Paraguay harp made in Ecuador.

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