Pan Flutes

Peruvian MusiciansThe pan flute is an instrument of many graduated wooden flutes tied together, usually with brightly colored, woven string. Pan flutes can be made in various sizes. Their wooden tubes are typically ordered from smallest to largest so that the smallest tube is on the left side of the performer.

The smallest tube sounds the highest pitch while the largest tube sounds the lowest pitch. Tubes can also be stacked in rows to enable more pitches in a convenient hand-held size.

Pan flutes are often used in in the music of Peru.


Song: El Condor Pasa (The Condor Happens By)

Video Overview: This is a traditional song of Peru and a great audio demonstration for students new to this type of music .  The beginning of the song opens with an open section, or free play, on the bass pan pipe (use of “flutter tongue”) and shaker. The lead pan pipe then comes in with an improvised melody along with the bass pipe and shaker. The charango begins to play at 0:30. A basic drum beat starts at 1:05 on a small bongo drum and leads into the full melody on pan pipe and all instruments playing at 1:08.

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