Description: The bandurria is a plucked short-necked lute and a member of the chordophone family of musical instruments. It has its origins in the Iberian peninsula in Spain and its close relatives are the bandolla, bandolin, laud and the mandolin and cittern. The term bandurria comes from the text "Libro De Buen Amor [the book of good love] a manuscript by Juan Ruiz [b. 1283 – d. 1350 ]. The bandurria was widely distributed from Latin America, South America and to the Philippines.
Origins of the Bandurria: In Medieval Spain the original instrument was constructed from a body covered by animal, neck and it had three or more strings. A Renaissance era book published by Fray Juan Bermudo [b. Ecija 1520 to d. 1565 in Andalusia]. Frey documented the following changes made to the bandurria. Tunings for this early form of bandurria were B G B or B A B in single strings. During the 15th century the use of a plectrum was abandoned. In its current form the bandurria has a much shorter length measured in total from the bottom to the head stock. The body of the Spanish bandurria is slighter wider and has a more present tear drop profile. Up to 12 to 16 frets are installed on the fingerboard and usually is complete with 12 strings.
The Bandurria in Peru: The bandurria often accompanied a dance called the "zapateo" that made its way from Spain to Cuba to Latin America. During colonial times the bandurria occupied a predominant role in the Afro-Peruvian communities in Lima, and near by Coastal Peru. Today in Peru the bandurria has a strong presence in Cusco and in Apurimac regions of Peru. In Peru one would find the bandurria to have the strings arranged in 12, 14, 16 or 20 courses. During the 1800s the bandurria was played in the coast of Peru. Soon the bandurria started migrating inwards to the Andean mountains particularly in Cusco. A much larger type of bandurria called a marimacho bandurria it is found only in the city of Cusco and its department. In Spanish the word “marimacho” translates into “hermaphrodite”. The marimacho bandurria is tuned a fifth below from the prima bandurrias and it is considered a soloists instrument.
Anatomy of the bandurria: The bandurria is constructed from walnut, maple or ebony for the fingerboard, cedar or sycamore. A family of bandurria exists from the soprano, alto, tenor to bass. The tenor bandurria is based off the modern Spanish lute of the 19th century. The laudon a bass lute that was designed by Paco Aguilar [a member of the Aguilar Quartet] and built by the luthier Domingo Esteso in 1924 in Madrid. Rather then having 6 double strings the laudon has 7 courses of strings or up to 14 strings. The arrangement of the strings for the laudon has 6 double strings and a single 7th strings. Another contribution by the Aguilar Quartet was a much smaller size bandurria called a Laudete during the 1930s.
C G D E A B
G# C# F# B E
|Spain, Pre rennaissance||
B G B or B A B
|Spain, Rennaissance (5 course)||
C F B A E
|Spain, Laudon (Paco Aguilar)||
G D A E B F#
Bandurria - Peru 4 course (16-stringed)
E G# B E
G C E A
|Cusqueño / Huamagino||
D G B E
C E A E
E C G E
E A B E