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General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 22 Jul 2017/1 Jaguar
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Article suitable for Top Juniors and above

Chris Garcia plays the teponaztli

SEE a teponaztli drum in action...

Chris García writes: This instrument was called TEPONAZTLI in Mexico by the Mexica people, mistakenly referred to as Aztecs. The same instrument was also used by the Maya in Guatemala and southern Mexico, where it was called TUNKUL. The most common combination of instruments found in codex images are the huehuetl (vertical drum), the teponaztli and a flute being played at the same time. According to written sources the teponaztli was played to keep the pulse, e.g., half notes, quarter notes, eighth notes, and not the subdivisions which are usually played by the huehuetl player.

Chris García demonstrates his art...

Chris plays a trio of teponaztlis alongside a trio of gourd drums floating on water (known as ‘vakuvache’ by the Yaqui people of Northern Mexico) these drums are also hand painted by Martin Espino.
Chris plays a trio of teponaztlis alongside a trio of gourd drums floating on water (known as ‘vakuvache’ by the Yaqui people of Northern Mexico) these drums are also hand painted by Martin Espino. (Click on image to enlarge)

Here Christopher Garcia demonstrates the teponoaztli, combining ancient and modern playing techniques in each hand. He credits Ramiro Ramirez of the group Tribu as an inspiration for what is now being currently played on the teponaztli.

This is a classical instrument from Mexico used in devotional, danza and what we now refer to as “art music”. Like many instruments it can be played at various types of musical functions and is now being used as an instrument to solo on as well as for accompaniment.

Click to e-mail Christopher Garcia. Please put his name in the subject line.

NOTE: The original video of Christopher Garcia demonstrating the tepoonaztli which had over 11,000 hits mysteriously disappeared from YOUTUBE and we requested Christopher to make another one for us.

See our full feature on the teponaztli...

Watch a beautiful demonstration of the sounds of teponaztli and water/gourd drum played together

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