The sound of the people of the Pyrenees.
As far as music is concerned in the Basque Country, there are two main areas to be emphasised:
Dance has played an important role in Basque culture, and its music has always been intimately bound to the evolution and development of dance. We have simple orchestral formations, made up of one pipe and tabor player, for the more archaic types of dance, many with special beats such as 5/8, and also much more complex formations such as brass bands, which are used to accompany dances which were much more widespread throughout Europe and therefore experimented a greater evolutional change. We must also emphasize other orchestral formations that have survived to the present day: Some are simple, for example, Alboka (double piped hornpipe) and Panderoa (tambourine), Dultzaina (from the oboe family) and Atabala (snare drum) or Trikitrixa (two-row diatonic accordion) and Panderoa (in Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa), Xirula (three-holed flute) and Ttun-ttuna (psalter) from Soule. Others are more elaborate, for example, duets of Dultzaina or Gaita (bagpipe) with Atabala (in Araba and Navarre), Txistu (three-holed flute) and Danboliña (small drum) bands in Gipuzkoa etc. We are also aware of the presence, at various moments in the evolution of time, of instruments such as, accordions, violins, horns etc.
Other forms of music and song.
When studying forms of music that are not related to dance, two main factors have to be taken into consideration:
- The Road to Santiago crosses our Country and for centuries has attracted people from many different European cultures.
- The geographical and historical position of the Basque Country situated between the two great cultural focal points of Europe: the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. On the western side of the Country, therefore, we find melodies and rhythms common to Ireland, Portugal, Brittany, Scotland and England, whereas on the eastern side they are closer to Italy, Catalonia, and Sardinia. In the Pyrenean regions of Basse-Navarre and Soule, they have preserved many songs that were popular in the Mediterranean during the XVIII century and are typical of the era of Romanticism.
Below is a list of musical instruments traditionally used in our Country.
Txistua and Xirula: three-holed flutes.
Alboka: a very old shepherds instrument.
Dultzaina or Gaita and Xanbela: from the oboe family.
Txilibitua: six-holed flute.
"Pistoidun orkesta": saxophone, clarinet, trumpet, euphonium.
Flauta trabesera: transverse flute.
Trikitrixa: diatonic accordion.
Tabors and drums.
Jew´s harp (Muxugitarra or Tronpa).
An archaic, magical-ritual instrument known as "Txalaparta".
Throughout its history, the Andra Mari Dance Group has had the opportunity to see, research and play all the above-mentioned instruments. Through its daily work and research, the group has studied all the different aspects of traditional Basque music, with or without dance. In our representations, despite being limited to a time, we try to present as wide a sample as possible of all our work.