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Traditional Instruments: Charango

Country: South America

Type: String Instrument


It is a traditional instrument belonging to which country/countries?

Thought to be a descendant of the Spanish vihuela, the charango evolved to cement its own place in South American music history.

What are the Features of Charango?

While the resonance body was originally made using the dried shell of an armadillo, today it is mainly made of wood and rarely of tortoise shell. Outwardly it resembles a guitar or oud, although its size varies widely, but it’s generally small.

Where Does Charango's History Rise?

The charango is a type of guitar that originated in South America in the 1700s and is played with an armadillo shell as a sound box. The vihuela (an ancestor of the classical guitar) was brought to South America by the Spanish conquistadors. The charango is not clear whether it is a direct descendant of a specific Spanish stringed instrument; it could have evolved from the vihuela, bandurria (mandolin), or lute. Ernesto Cavour, a Bolivian charanguista, composer, and consulting music historian for many museums around the world, has noted charango characteristics in various 16th-century vihuelas and guitars and believes the charango is a direct descendant of the vihuela.

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