For the mountain in the Huancavelica Region, Peru, see Pinqullu (Huancavelica).

Dancers of the Wari dance and two musicians with their instruments: tinya and pinkillu
Woodwind instrument
Other names pinkuyllu, pinqullu

Hornbostel–Sachs classification 421.211.12
(end blown duct flute)
Developed c.1400 (pre-Columbian Incan instrument)
Related instruments

qina, tarka

A pinkillu,[1] pinkuyllu[2] or pinqullu[3] (Quechua or Aymara, hispanicized spellings pincollo, pincuyllo, pingullo, pinquillo, also pinkillo, pinkiyo, pinkullo, pinkuyo) is a flute found throughout the Andes, used primarily in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador and Peru. It is usually played with one hand, leaving the other one free to accompany oneself on a drum[4] like the tinya. It is used in a variety of public festivals and other kinds of communal ceremonies.[4]

Construction and Materials

The pinkillu can measure in length up to 1 meter 20 cm, and has six finger holes.[5] It is most commonly made out of cane, but can be made out of bamboo, bone, or tree branches as well. In Peru and Bolivia, sheep and llama nerves are used to tie the instrument together. Among the different kinds there are ch'aka pinkillu (bone flute), qina qina pinkillu (cane flute) and tupa pinkillu (made out of thicker tuquru cane).

Cultural Uses and Significance

The pinkillu has great cultural significance. In the Andes the instrument is played during the early rainy season to celebrate cattle and farming. The pinkillu is often played in pairs or ensembles during the rainy season and at festivals. In Bolivia it is believed that the pinkillu made from cane attracts rainfall.[5] The pinkillu is moistened with alcohol or water before playing, and are associated with fertility.[4]

See also


  1. Teofilo Laime Ajacopa, Diccionario Bilingüe Iskay simipi yuyayk'ancha, La Paz, 2007 (Quechua-Spanish dictionary)
  2. Diccionario Quechua - Español - Quechua, Academía Mayor de la Lengua Quechua, Gobierno Regional Cusco, Cusco 2005 (Quechua-Spanish dictionary)
  3. Radio San Gabriel, "Instituto Radiofonico de Promoción Aymara" (IRPA) 1993, Republicado por Instituto de las Lenguas y Literaturas Andinas-Amazónicas (ILLLA-A) 2011, Transcripción del Vocabulario de la Lengua Aymara, P. Ludovico Bertonio 1612 (Spanish-Aymara-Aymara-Spanish dictionary)
  4. 1 2 3 Romero, Raul (2001). "Peru". In Koskoff, Ellen. Garland Encyclopedia of World Music: South America, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. Vol. 3. Taylor & Francis. pp. 466–502. ISBN 978-0-8240-4947-8. Retrieved 25 Sep 2011.
  5. 1 2 Baumann, Max (2004). "Music and Worldview of Indian Societies in the Bolivian Andes". In Kuss, Marlena. Music in Latin America and the Caribbean. Volume One. University Of Texas Press. pp. 300–303. ISBN 978-0-292-70298-1. Retrieved 25 Sep 2011.

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