Studies on Mexican Aerophones

Death whistle model of silver

Roberto Velazquez Cabrera
Virtual Research Institute Tlapitzcalzin

Mexican aerophones are wind musical instruments or resonators that can generate sounds or noise with air jets and one or several chambers of globular, tubular and other shapes like simple flutes and multi-tubes, flutes with membranes, reed flutes, simple and multi-whistles, trumpets, horns, cornets, noise generators and dead whistles that were developed during several millenniums in Ancient Mexico. They can generate musical, natural, biological and underworld sounds and signals of many purposes, including some of unknown use. They were made of a great variety on materials like clay, cane, woods, bones, shells, carapaces, seeds, gourds, barks, metal and stone.

The Virtual Research Institute Tlapitzcalzin is virtual because it exist only in the Internet and it does not dispose of other resources, but it has more studies on ancient aerophones than any institution of the real world. Its objective is to help to research and to recover the rich, millenary and singular sonorous technology from Ancient Mexico that was lost, destroyed, forbidden, proscribed, substituted and forgotten, as a result of the invasion, the conquest, the colonization, the evangelization, the malinchism, the modernism, the globalization, the racism, the ethnocentrism, the ignorance, the bureaucracy and the laziness, despite of the independence and the revolution and the orderings of our laws to research and to promote the prehispanic and indigenous cultures. The fine ancient singular mexican sonorous art has not been of the interest of humanists and the extraordinary sonorous mexican technology neither has been a matter of formal research of scientists and academic technicians. The research of the ancient sonorous space opens a new window to know more about the tastes, uses and customs of our ancestors and it is a necessary way to recover and to benefit of that productive and cultural field, which is singular in the history of the man kind.

Several proposal of policy to include effective programs to investigate, to rescue and to promote this rich Mexican culture and technology, were requested at the top level. The last one is the open Appeal to the Mexican President, posted in Mexicolore of the United Kingdom, by Ian Mursell

Posted studies

The studies were posted openly for public and non lucrative consultation but for educational aims, to diminish the unknowledge* and to get opinions from related experts. They have been selffinanced and independent, because interested moral and physical persons to support with resources this beautiful and rich field of research were not found. Most of the studies are virtual or they were made with experimental and mathematical models, because the museum's administrators and curators have not been interested in the analysis of the substantive function of the ancient sonorous goods and some of them are opposed to their systematic and direct study. However, few direct analysis were made, because some archaeologists allowed to examine ancient clay artifacts that were found in their explorations.

The aerophones were selected, because they were found in great quantity in operable conditions and to shorten the field of the study, with the purpose to avoid the superficiality and to be able to make deep analysis. Furthermore, each aerophone must be studied as deep as it is possible, if we want to recognize and to rescue our rich organology and to explore its ancient sonorous space with certain formality. It pretends to show that it is possible to recover the ancient organology even in a virtual way and to make important discoveries and significant correlations, even with only the access to public images of recovered ancient sonorous artifacts and to their reproductions in the iconography, with imagination, work and the aid of ancient and modern tools and methods.

Between the realized studies a thesis is included, in which a simple and low cost methodology is proposed. The details of its instrumentation can be seen in the specific studies of the links of the above list. Some important aerophones of other zones were included to show that the methodology can be universal. The analysis are original, because they belong to a new and beautiful field of research. They are a very small sample of the studies that are possible to make on the thousands of recovered ancient aerophones stored in museums, collections and explorations and on the instruments that are played in rural areas, as well as on the hundreds of experimental models that were made. The studies are examples but they are important, because it was detected that, with the exception of very few other cases, the rest of the mexican resonators and those of the great cultures from the exterior have not been scientifically analyzed or studied considering the engineering point of view and using the tools of the available technology.

These studies are oriented to investigators and administrators related to the study and diffusion of the ancient sonorous patrimony, mainly in the fields of: acoustics, ancient "music", ancient organology, ancient physicoacoustics, ancient sonic medicine or healing, ancient sonorous technology, ethnomusicology, ancient musicology, ancient music, archaeology, bioacoustics, museography, curatory, history, aesthetics, sculpture, ceramics, ancient art, construction and conservation of ancient sonorous artifacts, ancient communications and analysis of fluid's dynamics, waves, and complex ancient signals, and specially for persons interested in the prehispanic cultures and technologies.

Studies on Ancient aerophones

* The consultive papers can be used for non-lucrative educative and research aims, with the mention of the authors and the source. To use the materiar with lucrative aims it is necessary to get the previous permit of the authors.