If you were wondering what kind of music the Incas were listening to, you have a good reason to do so. The Incas had specialized music forms, and being one of the great civilizations of the world, the Incas had their own kind of music. Music was generally accompanied by dancing, and they were a regular feature at religious ceremonies. Incan tradition believed that music is inherently linked to the soul, and that the soul lives on only because of music.
Incan idea of music
The idea of music in the Incan society was to enhance cooperation and support within the members of the society. Instruments were played and arranged in such a manner that there was harmony and synchronicity in how musicians interacted with each other during a performance. It was probably an allusion to the way one lives in any society, in harmony. Without the rhythm and the instruments playing in harmony, it wouldn’t be music but noise. It might appear strange but the Incans used just one word for dancing, music and singing: “taqui”. This shows that, for them, music, dance and singing were inseparable.
However, music began to change in Peru after the arrival of the Spanish, who brought a more church-influenced music style to the country. Music was not only sung during religious ceremonies, but was also performed to ward off frost, make the rain go away, or to attract rain clouds when there was a draught. There was also music that was played for military purposes, and to keep cattle healthy.
Incas used instruments such as Zampona, which is a wind instrument made from pipes. Ocarina is yet another wind instrument, which resembled a flute and was very popular during the Incan civilization. There have been attempts to revive Incan music but a lot of it lives through folk music, which is still sung by native Peruvian peoples.
Next time you are in Peru, listen to Incan music
If you would like to experience Incan music, you can visit some of the performances that often take place in cultural organizations. They may also take place randomly in villages and towns high up in the Andes, where remnants of the Incan civilization live on. After all, music is related to generational memories, and it lives on even after battles, invasions, colonization, etc. Have you ever listened to Incan music, and if you have what did you feel about it?