Soundscapes from Venezuela

6 octubre 2008

CD Project «Soundscapes from Venezuela» (Unpublished)

This work has as fundamental intention, spread bioacoustics studies and ethnomusicological records, realized for 15 years in different regions of Venezuela. The books and photographic records that reflect the variety and richness of the Venezuelan landscape are innumerable, but it is necessary to understand that these images possess a sonorous content. There exists a landscape, which reflects the acoustic marvels of the biodiversity, and immerses us in the organic mystery of his innumerable creatures.CD Project «Soundscapes from Venezuela «


The conception of the texts that accompany the CD takes like starting point, the analyses made by the investigator to decipher the acoustic phenomenology to it of the landscapes, so as a symphonic orchestration is analyzed. The bioacoustics studies were made within the framework of numerous works of field that included diverse geographic areas of Venezuela. In these trips compilations of ritual afrovenezuelan music and of some indigenous tribes were made. Of way so that culture and soundscape, are based to mutually reveal their contents like an indivisible unit. In one of his writings, the investigator offers this simple description:

«While the Full Moon raises by the celestial vault, giving form to gigantic rocks worn away by the natural elements during centuries, thousand of insects of varied species, they alternate its songs vociferating its different identities from diverse geographical coordinates. The stereophonic recordings that I made of this myriad of animals, are so single simplifications of the multitímbral and multidimensional acoustic reality of this immense landscape. In him, the lobsters when leaving the Earth after rains, ignite their long and shining notes, conforming agreed tense and screeching, that seem to suspend the time marked by the incessant rates of the crickets. Nocturnal birds of developed languages more, sing as ominous of the death and the inevitable destiny. The bats, «Machikirí» calls by the Eñepa (Amazonian tribe of Venezuela) pronounce the onomatopoeia sound of their name, to draw up an acoustic map that allows him to fly between darknesses that hide them of their enemies. This present animal in manifold prehispanic ceramics of Venezuela, is reviewed in myths like an man-animal related to the origin of the culture, and certainly, by his custom to live in caves, it is related to the cave painting and its contents to him magician-monks. Each species of cricket marks their territory and attracts the females, with an own code sonorous that they interpret scraping his resonant organs. In this zone, the peculiar existence of a predator species has been discovered, that learns the codes of other crickets and it imitates them with such exactitude, that they manage to attract some incautious, which irremediable are devoured. Amphibians communicate with codes genetically pre-established, when they listen to the acoustic key that warns the presence to them of an intruder, all they shut up hiding to his location to the potential predator, passed the danger, reinitiate his loving calls, that derive in the exorbitant multiplication of the rainy station. When concluding the tropical winter (humid weather), the cannibal fights of the tadpoles take place that they look for to survive in the pools that are dried. On the other hand, the birds learn the language of their ancestor; territorial calls of alert, marks, scold to imprudent young pigeon. The leadership in many communities of observed birds, is defined in matches or exhibitions of immense apprehended repertoires, because a same species varies its songs from a region to another one, of way so that the Paraulata oil lamp eye, does not sing equal in Caracas that in Maracaibo. In the human capacity to perceive and to interpret the sounds of the nature, probably we find the origin of music. Shaman listens; the atmospheric elements and animals, instruct it in the way to order the language that emanates of its ontology. And from the ecstatic contemplation of the phenomena, it creates his own music in the crucible of his intellect. This music, is used like an exorcism, that makes back down to the disease and the death in its different manifestations. If the spirit of the man, does not have the capacity to generate these sonorous arguments, and simply he is given lethargic to the dogmas of the world, the shades and silence will take then the space yielded by their unconsciousness. During centuries the sounds of the nature fed the spirit on the Eñepa creators, and these were the bores with which they engaged in a dialog. The animals became then protagonists of his instrumental music, religious practices and myths. In order to know Eñepa music, it is essential to study the sonorous world that it surrounds them, and along with the animals, the seasonal atmospheric manifestations. Then the rays that strike gigantic stones, also leave marks in the brain of the ancients creators.

Carlos Suárez. Mountain range Blowpipe, Edo. Bolivar, 24/6/1997.

This description is a pale reflection of the incommensurable tímbrical wealth of this recondite region of Venezuela. Where a complex orchestration of animals, is interpreted by the cultures that live there, like a permanent manifestation of the sacred, that founds natural and the supernatural thing on an indivisible crucible of complementarinesses. Certainly the voices of the nature are a manifestation of the creative mystery, that express in these sounds the temporary complexity of a composition process of million years. Song of insect is maintained by structure organic amazing, which it amplifies acoustic codes whose deep contents are expressed in the metaphors of the mystical poets, who beyond the limitations merely classification of science, are able to show his fundamental essence to us.

Answer of the creatures

Thousand thanks spilling passed by these groves with presura; And going watching them, With single its figure dressed left beauty.

Started where I did not know, and I left not knowing all science extending. I did not know where she entered, but when there look me, without knowledge where she was to me, great things I understood; I will not say what I felt, that to me is not knowing, all science extending. «On a ecstatic of fed up contemplation» San Juán de la Cruz. (1542-1591)

The nature us wonder in its immensity, because one is before us like a quarry of motives and timbres combinations practically inexhaustible. Hundreds of thousand of species reunite establishing conformations taxonomic, that varies according to the own characteristics of the landscape that groups them, are; deserts, savannahs, forests of gallery, humid forests, coasts, wetlands, mountains, etc. Still more if we noticed that all the deserts do not have the same species, because their inhabitants change according to the latitude and the climate. For example a forest in Spain contains totally different sounds that one of Sumatra. He is inevitable to feel disturbed to us before the acoustic diversity of that immense orchestra that is the biosphere. An orchestra whose music is changing according to the hour of the day or at night, according to the month and the station. Even the acoustic density of a year, is altered depending on the climatologic circumstances, because an excessively long period of rains, it will bring like consequence a greater reproduction of the herbivores, and therefore, an overabundance of his sounds in the landscape of the incoming year.

In addition to the accumulated acoustic culture in the analysis of the landscape, the investigator has become jumbled with the ancestral cultures that inhabit these places, learning to execute their instruments and in some cases participating of his rituals.

In Venezuela only two stations exist, a drought and another rainy one. The Wayú, (native town that inhabits the most northern peninsula of South America) relates these annual cycles to the Gods of their sacred history. The dry station is personified by «Pulowi», a feminine deity that bases its power on the dark witchcraft of the death, underground and anthropophagous it devours the organic beings attracting them his dark one dwelled. The humid station is governed by «Juyá», masculine deity that controls the atmospheric forces and the life. These two sacred forces, fight in the celestial vault occupying part of the sacred calendar. In western cosmology the Arturo star presides over the constellation of the Cowherd, but for the Wayú the eye of «Juyá» is «Juyó». When the sun enters conjunction with this star, stormy rains of October untie, and the sky is drawn up by gigantic rays. Days before these gale-force winds rains, the sun harsh the parched Earth, and a tense lethargy is harvesting the life of the weakest animals. The flies teem between the corpses that they feed his larvae, and the vutures descend from the heights to devour to the dying ones. At that moment of maxim drought the sun arrives at the eye of «Juyá», and this spirit of the thunderclap, triggers booming rains that descend flooding the landscape. The animals sleepy under earth, wake up and begin to reproduce by thousands. The power of «Juyá» causes a life outbreak, and hundreds of seeds germinate, covering desolation with a vegetal vortex that the reproduction feeds on an enormous number of animals. In the nocturnal sky, the brightness of the innumerable souls of deads can be descried, the Milky way life is its, and all the beings devoured by «Pulowi» in the dry station, ascend to skies to produce vivifying rains of «Juyá». It is the eternal cycle of the life and the death, that repeats its dialectic one time and time again, and each one of these forces sharpens their arguments with the passage of the centuries, in a battle that inevitably will be won by one of them.

Carlos. Suárez. (Perijá, Edo. Zulia. 4/4/1994)

Technical Considerations

In this publication the soundscapes are not presented such as they were registered in the works of field. They were processed with a special software then in many cases did not reflect the reality listened to by the investigator in these places. In first term we must indicate that the certain microphones catch frequency when not having a flat answer, is to say that they are more sensible to frequencies that to others, this acoustic myopia later is accentuated by the loudspeakers or headsets where they do not reproduce then either have a flat answer. The problem of these technical devices, this in which the microphones are not designed to record soundscapes, but musical instruments and human voices. And this unbalanced answer, increases certain ranks of the acoustic pollution that then mask the real sounds of the landscape.

On the other hand, in the recordings noises are strained like which the microphone produces the wind when striking and the vibrations of the hand that maintains or the put earth vibrations to it if this on her. Therefore, in some examples the decision has been taken to eliminate those accidental or own noises of the acoustic pollution that in certain landscapes is produced by the slums, this originates like consequence recordings is very clean, almost crystalline, where the landscape is recomposed to heighten the sound that the compiler considers more excellent, as a photographer reveals his registries using the own techniques of his office to emphasize certain elements and this way to develop his ideological speech.

On the other hand, it is important to emphasize that the sound arrives at us from all directions when we perceived it with our ears, and when making a stereophonic recording the sounds that come back also introduce in the recording. This constitutes a deformation of the soundscape, because when we reproduce it the sounds that come from back sound ahead, as if when removing a photography, the images which they are to the back of the photographer fused with that it is focusing his camera, the result would be the two a confused photo where no of image would be recognize. Although in the acoustic perception east phenomenon less is accentuated, the ideal registry would imply to make a recording with two microphones stereo, one oriented towards the landscape located in front of us and another one towards which our back has left, later to reproduce these registry in quadraphonic surroundings. In theory, in a stereophonic registry the sounds would be due to eliminate that come from back, as long as this does not weaken the landscape towards which it is oriented the microphone.

As example I will put the recording number 2 that corresponds to a bog to borders of an enormous river, to our back are a slums that it produces a considerable load of sounds and acoustic pollution, when we reproduce the original sample without processing, we perceived as if this noise came from the bog, but it is not thus.

Therefore it has been decided to eliminate this noise of the sample so that the stereo image reflects the sonorous reality of the bog. Of course this one is a skilful representation, because in the reality if these sounds can be perceived, only that when we listened with our ears we can know exactly as they are ahead and as back.

In order to obtain the result obtained in some of these samples of the Venezuelan landscape, we processed the field material using graphic equalizers and noise reducer.

These landscapes correspond to a reality that I denominate «revealed soundscape» that is different from the «perceived soundscape», is to say that that we listened with the ears at the moment for making the recording, but that similarly is very far from the «recorded soundscape» that is weakened by the contingencies that we explained previously.


The texts that accompany the CD take like departure point, the analyses that the investigator has made of the acoustic phenomenology of the landscape. The recordings of the natural atmosphere were made within the framework of numerous works of field, where also compilations of the ritual music of some indigenous and afrovenezuelan communities took place. Of way so that culture and landscape are based on this CD, like a unit that reveals its contents and reveal mutually an overwhelming and inexhaustible identity.


1. – Quitiplás and birds. 1’42 ‘ ‘. (Tapipa, Edo. Miranda)

The Tuy river crosses fertile valleys where they are based Tapipa, a town dedicated to seedtime of the cacao and the chocolate elaboration. In this locality songs and instruments of African origin are interpreted, that arrived at these earth during the colony.

The set of quitiplás is constructed from a cane of declining moon bamboo cut, because in this lunar phase the level of waters descends, causing that the wood compacts and loses humidity, returning it less vulnerable to the attack of the insects and splits. Each instrument cuts three fingers below the knots that separate each section of the cane, staying as result an extended glass that is struck against the floor in their closed part. The superior part of the tube is covered and opened alternatively, to vary the sound of the instrument. The word quitiplás is one onomatopoeia of the rate touched by the smallest tubes, because first they strike the floor saying “Qui – ti” and later they are beat together “Plás” successively. With this reason they settle down a rhythmical base that serves as reference to the reasons that execute the rest of the tubes. In this example quitiplás was executed by Belen Palacios, expert master of the sort in Tapipa and cultural patrimony of windward, accompanies their daughters and Heidi whom the melodious song of «bocón» intones while the birds accompany them from the glasses by the trees.

2. – Amphibians and thunders as border to the Orinoco river. 1’24 ‘ ‘. (Caicara of the Orinoco, Edo. Bolivar)

This sonorous landscape, in the heat of corresponds to the muddy borders of the Orinoco river rainy station (October). We can perceive the presence of three species of amphibians: in the first place, innumerable little frogs that execute a species of «uí» acute whistle, establishing an incessant dialogue, in second term, we perceived the song of toads that intone a species of snore «rrr», and finally, we listened to a solitary toad that executes spaced tones «u». To the bottom, thousands of crickets conform a dense hissing «ssssssss», that is enriched with the entrance of some lobsters «ñiiiiiiiiiii», whose continuous squeak increases the density of landscape. From the distance resounding of the thunderclap arrives to us, that unloads some stormy cloud accumulations.

The poisonous amphibians execute their songs with smaller regularity, whereas those that do not have this defensive weapon hide between the choral density, weaving a complex network of sounds to confuse their enemies.

Some species are extremely difficult to record, because when detecting the presence of the biologist emits a sonorous code of alert, and all the group keeps silence, the investigator must then wait for hours to return them to record. But we can cause that they initiate its song in skilful form, if we reproduce in a small recorder the acoustic code that it indicates to them that the danger is past, and thus the amphibians retake the execution of its loving calls.

3. – Savannah during the dry station. 0’42 » (Caicara of the Orinoco, Edo. Bolivar)

Unlike the previous landscape that is developed in nocturnal hours, in this track we found animals that make their life to total light of the sun.

In the first place we noticed the presence of parrots and macaws that intones their motley quacks, small birds chirp, while in the ground hidden between the weeds the shakers insects and the wind alternate their song that rocks the grass between which they hide.

4. – Borders of the Orinoco «frogs and bats». 0’40 » (Caicara of the Orinoco, Edo. Bolivar)

In the bogs that the Orinoco river forms when flooding its creeks, an enormous variety of amphibians coexists during the rainy station. Each species has particular songs and a set of acoustic codes that respond to three basic functions: to – Calls to the females at the time of mating, b. – To mark the territory through the sound, and c. – To alert the danger.

In this track we can detect that when a toad executes its song, the rest of the amphibians responds to him adding their voices in a motley multiphonic, that concentrates an area specifies of the bog obtaining this way to confuse the predators that do not know where to attack.

Like bottom drop curtain, we listened to the incessant choir of the crickets, while in the heights the bats produce ultrasonic sounds, of which we only can listen to mysterious a crack one. The bats that the Eñepa (town that inhabits this zone) call «Machikirí», pronounce this onomatopoeic sound indeed, journeying the shades to escape to their own predators. This present animal in manifold prehispanic ceramics of Venezuela, is reviewed in myths like an man-animal related to the origin of the culture, certainly by his custom to live in caves it is related to the cave painting and its contents to him magician-monks.

5. – Biological overload. 1’30 » (Caicara of the Orinoco, Edo. Bolivar)

Some landscapes are characterized by a sonic saturation of such magnitude, that it makes difficult the differentiation of the executants in this animal orchestra. But if we submerged in this acoustic space, we will listen to several types of birds: some sing «siriririri», others chirp «tu tiiiii», while the frogs produce a motley bubbling «ua ua uaua…». The crickets whistle a continuous sound «siiiiiiiiiiiii», while the shakers insects execute notes that are growing «sksksksksksksk», and little crystal frogs clink, jingle «tiri ti ti tiri tiri ti tiritiritiri…». The wind also participates in this symphony, serving as support to the bats that fly vociferating their ultrasonic waves «chiki chi… ki. chiki…». Other isolated toads croak in marshes «rrui», and the bottom it is listened to the sounds of the slums. This complex acoustic activity is product of rains that wake up to the animals that have stayed hidden during the months of drought.

6. – Flautas Yapurutu in front of the river. 2’34 ‘ ‘. (Guainia River, Edo. Amazon)

The Guarequena town keeps sacred flutes under the water, there, in the dwelling of the spirits, remain until the ritual cycle is reinitiated where they let listen to his magical sound. The celebration of Dabukurí is one of those occasions, and agrees with time of harvest, harvesting and fishes. The celebration was instituted in remote times by Nápiruli «the creator», and the Guarequenas celebrates it like a commemoration of their beneficient step by the world, because its spiritual power is the one that causes the abundance and sustains the life. Flutes sacred is constructed by two old ones, for it use canes of Yagrumo, a cane of 1.60 ms (male) and another 10 shorter cm (female). The interior of canes is carefully cleaned, later an end of the tube is obturated hermetically, while in the other it is constructed to a bevel with palm leaves and a channel of bee wax insufflations. Flutes Yapurutu male pair and female are touched in, and when not having holes, their sounds are the natural overtones that follow one another in ascending form according to increases the pressure of the air column. Melodies which we listened in this example, is melodies which they are constructed by the alternation of the two notes of flutes, and is a incessant metaphorical of the dialectic one of the principles masculine and feminine, the same sound of the life that the creator threw to walk, and who we must preserve in spite of the incommensurable complexity of their mystery.

7. – Nocturnal savannah. 1’36 » (Guaniamo river, Edo. Bolivar)

Traveling one hundred kilometers inland from Caicara, we entered in a landscape dominated by grassland and isolated wooded zones. During this recording, the Full Moon illuminates the savannah and gigantic spherical rocks of the precambric age, serve as stage scene to thousand of insects of varied species, that found their songs on dense an agreed one, vociferating its different identities from diverse cardinal coordinates from the multidimensional space. The made stereophonic recordings of this myriad of bores, are as soon as an approach to the acoustic reality of this moving landscape. In him, the lobsters leave the Earth after rains, igniting his spaced and shining notes «ñiiiiiiiiiiiiii», these mysterious songs seem to suspend the time, that they mark to the incessant crickets «tri, tri, tri…», also «iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii….», or «rruuuuiuuuuiiiiiuuuui….». This variety of insects is disturbed by a solitary predator «ui, ui, ui…», is a toad that languishes dry station in the heat of.

8. – Biological overload II. 1’27 » (Guaniamo river, Edo. Bolivar)

This it is another landscape that communicates the wealth to us of a baroque Biology. In this acoustic impression, the animals superpose their songs to confuse the predators: mice, owls, bats, animals that hunt with his developed auditory apparatuses. The singers at night hide to an a others trying to escape to the death, hiding between the sonic overload of their multiple songs.

Among them he emphasizes a species of frog who we had not listened to «pik before, pik, pik….», while much more common other saturates with its song lagoon «gui, gui, gui…», and the crickets mark to their territory «triiiiii» next to the frogs bell that tintinean «ti, ti, ti, ti».

9. – Tubular clarinets – Eñepa Culture – «Song of the toad» (Guaniamo river, Edo. Bolivar)

The Eñepa is a town that inhabits the mountain range blowpipe of the Edo. Bolivar. In its rites they execute two wind instrument of deep sound. Matching them like male and female, they interpret the representative ancestral animal songs, that in the origin of their culture had human characteristics. The Song of the Toad alludes to the joy that shows these amphibians by the arrival of the humid station. At this time of the year the toads hidden in the Earth wake up of their lethargy, and by thousands they initiate its songs, so varied in its tímbral colours as species generate them. It could say that this music is the manifestation of the bore in these animals, that clarinets recreate within the vault of the religious thought Eñepa.

The touch begins with a call of male clarinet, immediately female clarinet responds to him, when the temporary space is demarcated after several calls and answers, clarinet male initiates the execution of a basic pattern that can vary ad libitum, while the female maintains its base fundamental.

10. – Frogs bell and wind. 0’41 » (Guaniamo river, Edo. Bolivar)

The wind moves the cane plantations, while the frogs bell engage in a dialog in the space, and the crickets suspend the time with the continuous hiss that conforms the sum of its voices.

11. – Tubular clarinets – Eñepa Culture – «Piapoco» 3’16 » (Guaniamo river, Edo. Bolivar)

This Song begins in form similar to the one of the toad, but in this case the execution contains a greater number of variations, and the structure of the counterpoint is more complex. The Song of «piapoco» or toucan, relates the union of a pair of toucans of the same ancestral community. The animals with human form, meet inside a sacred mountain to celebrate their ritual celebrations. By a crack of the mountain, some of these animals mythological escaped that gave present origin to the Eñepa.

These song are executed during the Pajpoto, funeral ceremony in which one is due to warn to the phantom of the dead so that the community of the alive ones leaves. The ghost clings to its material properties, and shaman must inhale the hallucinogens that allow him to face it in their supernatural dimension. And there to indicate the long way to him that will lead it to the sacred mountain where the ancestors live.

12. – Nocturnal owl and insects. 1’02 » (national Park the Ávila, Dist. Capital)

This track belongs to another region of Venezuela. The mountain that separates the Caribbean Sea of the capital of the country, is a dense mountain forest populated by an innumerable variety of species animals, that are changing depending on the altitude. A remarkable resistance in the tímbrica texture of examples ten to the fourteen can be perceived, if we compared them to the nine previous ones that they belong to a different geographic zone. In this landscape, the sounds are subtler, we did not listen to the motley warble of the amphibians that sing in bogs river of the Orinoco. In this sonorous mountain landscape, very different insects with song abound, we listened «gave, gave, gave, gave, gave, gave…» incessant. The crickets produce their sounds scraping their wings «ru, ru, ru…» and the speed of this friction, determines the height of the sounds, in this example another cricket sounds «ri, ri, ri…» and when adding itself with the previous one they conform a dialogue; «ru, ri, ru, ri, ru, ri, ru, ri…». Other insects intone in the thickness «rrrr, rrrr, rrrr…», and it accompanies distant «tíri, tíri, tíri…». He would be interminable to describe all the reasons that are executed in this track, because some species execute their songs in spaced form to escape to the predators. On this carpet of sounds finely woven, it emphasizes the nocturnal reclamation of a owl, that from the woods auscultates the ground of the forest to detect small rodents, that cautiously crawl between fallen leaves.

13. – Daytime birds and insects. 0’47 » (national Park the Ávila, Dist. Capital)

The insects take refuge in the shades interpreting their incessant pulses, the own birds intone melodies of their species.

We listened to in first plane the song of a guacharaca «uuuuia», around her they trine and they chirp without number others birds, «chiss», «ki ki», «tui tui tui tui tui tui», «ssssiiiiii», «turrrrrriii», etc. The song of the birds has an extraordinary variety, because to its taxonomic diversity the local colour is added, because the birds like the humans inherit of their parents the own accent of the zone in which they live, that is to say, a Caracas cucarachero bird sings different that one been born in Maracaibo.

14. – Isolated frogs and nocturnal insects. 1’16 » (national Park the Ávila, Dist. Capital)

The biologists dedicated to the recognition of the species, have discovered that the best form to carry out its work is to begin in the study of its characteristic songs. Of this form although the animals are hidden in the thickness, the scientist can recognize his presence, and make the registry of his geographic distribution what facilitates its study remarkably.

In this track we found a species of frog that executes a very different song to which it was recorded in other regions. In this case the reason that develops the batrachians has greater complexity, because it is constituted like an imitative dialogue, that travels from a place to another one of the space in form similar to a game of questions and answers.

15. – Aiúbu flute and thunders. 1’56 ‘ ‘. (national Park the Ávila, Dist. Capital)

Although this music is interpreted by the Yukpa natives in the mountain range of Perijá, the example was recorded in a stormy afternoon of May of year 1998 in the national park the Ávila. In that occasion, we were looking for the botanical species that they are used in the elaboration of the basketwork of that town, because in that date the Indian chief Clemente Bohórquez from Toromo dictated in Caracas a factory on those artisan weave techniques. When giving shelter to us of rain in that day of storm, it asks to him that they were those bones that hung of the band that credited its rank, responded to me: they are flutes elaborated with human bones, and I am the one in charge to touch them when somebody dies. Then I requested to him that it touched something to me and executed the touch that describes the moment at which after the corpse is placed in the cave «Nonatmue» becomes bald, the participants of the rite return to the town for the celebration from “fermented corn drink”)

Aiúbu flute is elaborated with femur of a “tuano”, that is to say, shaman that shone with the luminosity of those men who have a considerable patrimony of magical character. These qualities are inherited by the instrument, that through its sound is able to warn the ancestors the decease of its relative, and summons to the great “tuano” so that it guides it by the secret way between mountains that lead to the supernatural paradise of the Yukpa.

16. – Cicadas. 2’16 » (National Park of Ávila, Dist. Capital)

Some species of cicadas sing at the end of the summer bursting their bodies to are of their strident voice «iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii», the species that sings in this example belongs to the short dry station of August, that is put in between the rainiest months (May and October). In that point of the calendar this species interprets a species of acute snore, with sounds difficult «rrre… .rrre… .rrre» and long sounds «rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre» that between the trees their songs tile forming a canon of questions and answers in the space.

These songs of the males attract the females, that to the being fertilized put their eggs in the branches of the trees, when being born the larvae fall to the Earth, and they immediately begin to dig a gallery until a root, of that extracts the sap that serves to him as food. There they can happen up to 17 years, and a day, leaves the Earth breaking its envelope and opens to its wings for reinitialize its vital cycle.

17. – Choir of insects of afternoon to the night. 1’11 » (National Park the Ávila, Dist. Capital)

In this landscape the voices of the insects are alternated in the at night early space. Multiple species sing while the birds prepare themselves to rest intoning their last sounds.

18. – Insects and “gaita of tambora”. 2’26 » (South of the lake of Maracaibo, Edo. Zulia)

This region of Venezuela stands out by an enormous biological and cultural diversity. The towns that inhabit the South border of the lake of Maracaibo, are based in the most fertile earth and humid of the country, because in addition to it found to borders of a lake, at them they end the rivers which they descend from the mountain range of the Andes and are watered in persistent rains during almost all the year.

In Santa Maria during all the night of the 26 for the 27 of December, it leaves by the streets the town the gaita tambora intoning refrains that touch innumerable subjects; in this case the choir demands «I I do not explain itself because reason to where floor is shrimp». In this gaita the environmental consequences are denounced that the construction from a shrimp fisher to the outskirts of the town brought, and the gaita serves like form as protest. The gaita in his I journey by the town, is accompanied by innumerable insects that with their alternate shakers, surround the song and the execution of the drums.

19. – Birds and chimbánguele. 2’26 » (South of the lake of Maracaibo, Edo. Zulia)

In San Jose de Heras the birds draw their songs in the landscape, and seem to talk in the intoned space «curiqui chi chi chi chi chio» while another solitary bird intones «chicucuiu cuchicucuiu cuchicucuiu cuchicucuiu». In the meantime, the servant of San Benito of Palermo, initiate their celebration executing the “cantica” blow with the drums chimbángueles. With this set of 7 drums, complex rhythmical structures are executed that accompany each one by the phase of the rite that renders cultured to black saint.

The battery of drums is made up of seven instruments. In the acute registry are three drums female denominated (first requinta, second requinta and requinta average) all are beat with riding crop thin and flexible denominated camirí, which flagellates the membrane producing a metallic and strident timbre. In the average and low registry are four drums male (mean-blow or tamborito, respondón, singer and the greater or carrier), touched with heavy capopos called wood cleaning rods, which produces in them a deep tone. It is observed that the drums females tile his polirhythmic with short and very together notes that are interlaced more, while the male drums engage in a dialog their languages, with rates metrically spaced. The male drums do not talk with the females, but if they touch perfectly synchronous taking like reference a key, that serves as base to establish a complex sonorous structure. That it causes the social order by the influence of his aesthetic contents, which were established centuries ago by a lost ancestral creator at night of the times, but whose voice still we can listen in the music interpreted in this region of Venezuela.

20. – Several species of batrachians at the beginning of the rains. 0’54 » (San Jose de Guaribe, Edo. Guarico)

At the beginning of rains thousand of frogs and toads Earth salts to mate, their eggs were developed in the temporary lagoons that invade the plain, and the tadpoles fought by the food that will allow them to transform itself into adults before the drought turns its dry habitat the uncultivated land, where were buried until the arrival of the following rainy station.

In this landscape, the acoustic density assumes the form of a motley texture, where the diverse species compete by the space. It is recognized clearly that a species pronounces «pi» but their distribution and number produce another effect «pi piri pripi pi pripripi pipiri», another sing «gugugguigu guiguigu gigiguguigugui», and at heart another one like crystal moving bodies «tritititriti titritritrititi».

21. – Crickets and bats. 1’37 » (San Jose de Guaribe, Edo. Guarico)

The bats flutter in the dark guided by the echo of the ultrasonic signals that they emit. Although we cannot listen to these sounds because they surpass the rank of our hearing, if we reached to detect its presence when perceiving the cracks ones and that the movement of its acoustic organs produces.

He is complicated to record to certain species of bats, mainly those that are fed on blood. Those that collects nectar record just under bloomed trees, like those that feed themselves on fruits. In the present case, the bats belong to an insectivorous species, and They were recorded under illumination posts where butterflies and other insects crowd around themselves on which they are fed.

22. – Solitary violin toad between other frogs and insects. 0’42 » (San Jose de Guaribe, Edo. Guarico)

It advances the night, the insects and amphibians intone their symphony and the solista is a peculiar solitary toad that sounds like a violin arches. This recording was made from the interior of a stable, is for that reason that the sounds give the sensation to reverberate within a church. Most of the bioacoustics registries that east CD contains, was made in the dirty environs, is for that reason that reflect sounds of resistant species to the chemical and sonorous contamination. In subsequent investigations, the recordings made in these regions would have to be made more far possible of the establishments, to oppose the results and of determining the impact of the man in the Biology of Venezuela. The dirty limit the development of some species, this brings like consequence the explosive growth of other species, that are multiplied out of control when not having to face their natural enemies. This is the explanation that we can find for the extreme sobrepopulation of amphibians that reflects this recording.

23. – Insects. 0’46 » (San Jose de Guaribe, Edo. Guarico)

This recording is very similar to the previous one although in her it does not appear the violin toad, in her we can perceive in first term scraped cracks that respond in the space «chi chi shii» on positions to the incessant pulses of the crickets «rriiii rriiii rriiii» or «rui rui rui rui» and the lobsters «ñeeeeeeeee ñeeeeeeee» or «niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii», underneath almost imperceptible we noticed to a solitary insect «rrruiiiii». The amphibians intone «ui ui uiuiui uiui ui uiuiuiuiui», another species with isolated reasons «rrrrr».

Beyond expressed in the example the 22, small towns they still contain an amazing diversity if we compared them with the big cities, where the animals that are multiplied out of control are those that is related to human detritus, cockroaches, flies, vultures, rats and other necrophagy are the species that as the man increases their population in unnatural form, because in the nature no species grows thus, puses their populations grow and decrease maintaining a stability demographic that it allows them to survive because the natural imbalance brings in the long run the death like logical consequence to the exhaustion of the resources.

24. – Clear frogs. 1’41 » (San Jose de Guaribe, Edo. Guarico)

Each species has characteristic a timbre colour that allows him to be different itself from the rest, in this case the animal emits «ui», but what it defines the emitted message is the regularity and rhythmical character that the reason contains. Of this form, the species does not run the risk of being confused losing its reproductive effort with a different species. Nevertheless, this can be dangerous in some cases, because some predators learn the sound of the animals on which they are fed and they emitted the same code to attract it and thus to devour it.

25. – Calenda of San Jose. 4’10 » (San Jose of the Savannah, Edo. Vargas)

In the towns of Venezuela the celebrations of the patrons saints, carefully are organized in order to honour the spiritual protectors of the community. In the Savannah, the society of San Jose is orders to reunite it the bottoms for the celebration of saint, bottoms that mainly are used to contract the band that will solemnly accompany the procession by saint touching sacred music, but once San Jose has entered the church, the band explodes in an overflowing plot of melodies and rates. The musical set which we will listen in this example finds made up of: 3 trumpets, 2 saxophones, 2 trombones, and the rhythmical section: under electrical, conga, sauce timbale and big drum.

This example offers a music to us of great vitality, of which we have wanted to give a transcription (only wind instruments). The wind instruments are entering successively to create a rhythmical melodic weave, in where they settle down a species of cyclical dialogue, while the percussion instruments contribute to greater force to the structure, maintaining a continuous base and anticipating the points of greater intensity through accentuated called variations and. The numerical succession that appears in the transcription indicates the entrance order; (1), (2), (3), etc.

26. – Fulía overnight. 5’30 » (San Jose of the Savannah, Edo. Vargas)

The song of fulía is intoned fundamentally in honour to the May cross, but also it is possible to be interpreted to render cultured to the virgin, patron saint of the community or to pay a promise. Between fulía and fulía, they are recited tenth that allows the musicians to rest, the subjects of these poetries very are varied, some; to the asylum, the death, the love, the animals, the nature, etc.

When Jesus received, of Juan saint baptism. By mandate of same God, in a desert he prayed, Forty days happened, that divine teacher. Fulfilling its great destiny, with calm and serenity. And in that solitude, one appeared to him I infuriate.

One appeared to him I infuriate, but Jesus not have fear. The Earth shakes to him, and explodes a thunderclap in the abyss. It raises his same face there, and sees with the great desolation. Like with extreme attention, Lucifer contemplated it. And of his face he appeared, a sinister brilliance.

A sinister brilliance, appeared of its so beautiful eyes. It beats his long hair, a captivating wind. El Salvador shakes, seeing the mysterious man. That with odious gesture, it says to him thus to the redeemer. I am the God of Averno, damn the creator.

Damn the creator, the sun shone in his front. He was a refulgent angel, of captivating accent. In the sky he was the best one, and a day he revealed himself. And of my father he found, the terrible curse. Of this sacred lesson, sanit cross, I am your singer.

In de rite where they are interpreted the songs of fulía begins entrance the night already, and finishes to the dawn, although in some occasions it extends in the morning until the body holds. In this example, we have wanted to make a assembly where they appear the sounds of the animals that sing in the nocturnal atmosphere of this town, later to present/display fulía denominated «Car it to me», which once concluded lets listen to the song of the morning birds. The example is like a metaphor that compresses the time, in that the rite crosses the night to arrive at the day.

27. – Rain forest «night». 1’00 » (national Park Guatopo, Edo. Miranda)

In this case the density of the landscape saturates the recording, allowing to only listen the creatures who were more near the microphone. This taking was made in May of 1997, where a trip by the central region of the country was made. The biological exuberance of the Guatopo park with its tímbrica overload makes difficult the differentiation of the executants in this animal orchestra, I suppose that in the stop their ultrasonic shouts flew the bats sounding of which single a mysterious one can be perceived cracking, the nocturnal birds sent to the air their moans, surrounded by insects that sing their incessant subjects in the glasses of the trees to get rid of the predators, the river hissing their passage by the throat of the park populated with random toads that croaking his multitimbre, while thousands of insects: lobsters, beetle, crickets, grasshoppers, butterflies etc. elevated agreed a monumental one.

28. – Rain forest «day». 1’08 » (national Park Guatopo, Edo. Miranda)

During the day the sonorous density descends, and the birds wake up weaving their songs between the dense wooded vault. Many birds defend their hierarchy as opposed to the rest of their species, using their melodic memory, is to say the bird that sings better is the one than it reproduces, this evolutionary route is the one that has allowed that the birds to develop the enormous repertoire of songs that has its kingdom.

29. – Round drum with sounds at night. 2’07 » (Tacarigua de Mamporal, Edo. Miranda)

The windward forests of the Miranda state, serve as fertile earth for seedtime of the cacao. Their inhabitants execute several musical sorts of African influence, among them; the mine, quitiplás, fulía, etc.

In this example, we can perceive the song of a species of amphibian characteristic of the zone, that crok between the incessant crickets. One adds to them three round drums or culo´e puya, in these drums executes a rhythmical structure that interweave its sounds to produce a sound effect of movement, because beat of both drum responds in the space establishing a network of dialogues that increases the energy of the instrumental blow.

30. – Rain forest of windward. 0’57 » (Tacarigua de Mamporal, Edo. Miranda)

In this landscape, the incessant songs of the insects are hidden in the vegetal vortex that it causes the throat of the river. Of between round stones worn away by the water, innumerable canes of bamboo rise that intercross resembling the ribbings of a gothic cathedral. We noticed the presence of some insistent sounds like «rriiii rriiii rriiii…» or continuous «sksksksksksksksksksk» and «shuiiiiiiiiiiii», another pulsating «tiri ti ri tri riti ri ti tri…» and one very spaced «chi chi chi». On the other hand the river flows constantly between the resonant caves that form rocks.

31. – Drums of Chuspa. 3’09 » (Chuspa, Edo. Vargas)

In the central coast of Venezuela great part of the communities executes the 24 of June blows of drum in honour to San Juán baptist. In Chuspa, several made unimembranófonos drums with avocado trunks are executed (American Persea), in which leathers of deer or head of cattle mount that is fixed to the trunk by means of nails. The number of instruments executed in this locality varies according to the occasion, but in principle two curbatas drums of approximately 1 m are used, that are beating with cleaning rods and they are placed in vertical form, so that the leather is watching upwards. In addition to the curbatas, in the ground two cumacos drums of approximately 2.5 ms are placed horizontally, on which the drummer feels to beat it with the hands, while other three musicians feel in their later part beating the trunk with heavy woods of guayaba.

The leather of these drums pays attention to the trunk using nails, this system does not allow that the instrument is sharpened by means of the wedges or moorings of cords that use other drums of Venezuela. In Chuspa the master musician sharpen their instruments igniting a bonfire, that is used to warm up leathers, and this way to do that the absorbed humidity of the atmosphere evaporates, increasing their tension, their acoustic power and tímbrica brilliance. Next to the drums, several guaruras or botutos are executed, that are constructed from the empty shell of a marine snail «Strombus Gigas». This snail is perforated in the outer end where its helicoids converges, to form a natural mouthpiece, that is blown making vibrate the lips as it takes control of a trumpet. With these wind instruments rhythmical-pitch counterpoints settle down that strengthen the musical structure, allowing that the singers rest of the enormous effort that represents to make listen to its verses over the thunderous speech of the percussion.

32. – Song of the man who arrives. 0’42 » (Guarero, Edo. Zulia)

The Wayú town lives mainly in the Guajira peninsula to the northwest of the lake of Maracaibo, but also it is possible to be found scattered them by all the Zulia state. The houses that live are denominated miichi, have rectangular form and the ceilings are covered with yotojolo, that are small boards removed from the central part of the cactus that abound in their habitat. The patio where they cook denominates kosinapia, and this surrounded with a fence done with alive cactus transplanted, in whose ends they hang dry animal skulls to move away to the Yolujas, or supernatural phantoms of deads. The desert landscape that surrounds them renders to overflow its beliefs extremely; doing distrusted them with the visitors. The song that is interpreted in this example, counts the history of a man who after a long trip arrives at a house and intones this melodía to convince his inhabitant that does not bring bad intentions, and of which its sincere friendship will not attract misfortunes the house.

33. – Birds of noon and the Wanülü «spirit hunting bird». 1’17 » (Guarero, Edo. Zulia).

Wanülü is a spirit who has the capacity to transform itself into animal, in this example next to the birds of the mount is listened to the song of wanülü interpreted by Mr. Ojeda, who with his fingers imitates the song of the bird wanülü that approaches the humans to be able to kill them with its arrows. The dark is its kingdom, and that by imprudence is with at night it does not return never to be seen.

The death is assumed with an amount of rites, and according to their belief the humans die three times; The first when the spirit comes off itself the meat, second death happens in the heart of our relatives when the feeling stops, and the third coldest and definitive one, is when we disappear of its memory. The Milky route in the starred sky, is the way which the souls of the Wayú journey died to arrive at Jepira, the country where they inhabit the ancestors.

34. – Sawawa Clarinet «song gives to old woman». 0’30 » (Guarero, Edo. Zulia)

This instrument is small clarinet constructed from a thin cane that abounds in the zones mountains. In this cane a tongue-piece is carved that when blowing it begins to vibrate producing a tone that is varied opening and covering with the fingers four perforations carved in the instrument. This clarinet with his melodies, symbolically expresses mythical situations that do not have to be taken in literal form, because they hide meaning which they go beyond the anecdotal thing. In this example sawawa relates the history of a old woman that requested food, but nobody then gave him did not have, then the old woman began to cry very heartbrokenly and then the situation change mysteriously and all began to dale foods that it devoured with great joy. After this apparently simple myth an explanation of the atmospheric cycles hides. Then the part of the myth in which there are no foods corresponds to the time of drought, the tears are a metaphor of the vivifying rain of the tropical humid station, that fertilizes the Earth and provides the humans with the food which they need to subsist.

35. – Nocturnal insects in mountains «rainy station». 1’05 » (Novito, Mountain range of Perijá, Edo. Zulia)

The Atapshi river runs through a deep throat, where a dense vegetation grows whose varied botanical species they are an aspect of the ancestral knowledge of the Yukpa town. Their denominated priests Tuanos, spoke with the plants to recognize in the resonance of their vegetal being magical and pharmacological properties. This landscape of extraordinary vitality draws in its acoustic transparency several layers of insects that identify themselves with great clarity. We listened to an enormous variety of sounds; short «i ii i iii i i ii i…» «tik tik tik…» «rrriii rrriii rrriii rrriii rrriii…», others «iijj iijj iijj iijj…» and «aii aii aii aii…». Songs also maintained «uiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii» and «shsssssssssssss». A deeper analysis allows us to perceive other many species, that tile this extremely alive sonorous texture.

36. – Flauta Jutka «Song of the porcupine». 1’12 » (Toromo, Mountain range of Perijá, Edo. Zulia)

The Yukpas is based in the Mountain range of Perijá a mountainous mountain range to the west of the lake of Maracaibo in the Edo. Zulia. Some of their towns like Allapaina, Novito and Toromo can be visited from Machiques in the direction of the national park mountain range of Perijá. Said establishment the slopes of the Atapshi river border, name of the first Yukpa transformed into river by the creator in mythical times, today appears in the maps like Negro River. The landscape of this region of Venezuela is disturbing in the suspended immensity of its dominions. In their mountains stone formation and caves inhabited by bats abound, many of which are the old cemeteries of the Yukpa.

Yukpa music this deeply related to the natural surroundings that lives. I touch of flauta Jutka, wind instruments constructed from a cane and bee wax reflects the distinguishing song of several mythological animals. This sacred character grants magical qualities to them related to the life and the supernatural world. For example I touch executed in the fields fertilize the harvests.

37. – Birds in the morning. 1’29 » (Toromo, Mountain range of Perijá, Edo. Zulia)

The rivers that tile the western river basin of the lake of Maracaibo, descend abundant from the mountain range of Perijá. This mountainous chain covered by intricate forest serves as shelter to without I number of species of birds many of which they comprise of Yukpa mythology. In its impressive earth we observed stone formation, and many of their towns of find suspended in the same edges of the mountainous abyss. From Allapaina they can be descried cracked that descends from sharpened peaks and in the distance the lake from Maracaibo, which I form when Atapshi perforated the fundamental lagoon formed in the times of the deluge, releasing the waters that were deposited in the lake. In this landscape the birds in the morning intone his varied songs, weaving their colours and textures as a visual photography.

38. – Flauta Jutka «Song of bare head vulture». 1’25 » (Toromo, Mountain range of Perijá, Edo. Zulia)

Although the musician who executed these melodies mysterious no longer this between us, his execution extends the death as a real presence of his spirit. The song of vulture bare head does not reproduce the strident quacks of the animal; melodic illustrates its supernatural qualities, their mystery and its mythology. A zigzaging pentatonic reason formerly ends at long suspended notes that suggest the fluid and majestic flight of this bird, a wizard leader of a community of necrophages with human appearance.

For Yukpa mythology the animals in ancestral times were dual beings, and is belief between the Yukpa that during the sun eclipses, the humans transform themselves into an ample zoological range. According to the inclination of their personality, some are transformed into insects, others in birds or small mammals. The Tuanos or «wizards» is transformed into jaguars. Unlike the rest of the mortals they suspect the imminence the astronomical event, and when painting itself the face with the ashes that keep in one covered magician, these wizards become and travel by the mountainous forest devouring their prey, and building prodigies with the power that confers the celestial event to them.

The constellations that cover the starred vault are the ancestral personages of the cosmogonic myth, all of them animals with human qualities or vice versa. It is in that not temporality of the origin where these dual beings pronounce themselves with greater clarity.

39. – Crickets of the dry station. 1’35 » (Novito, Mountain range of Perijá, Edo. Zulia)

The landscapes of the mountain range seem in certain places like hairdos by the mystery, the disposition of stones in the landscape, gigantic, steep trees perforated by the all-consuming action of the spirits of the water, and suddenly certain palms and vegetal species that they make us remember hypothetical very old landscapes, like lost in the time and preserved by a species of whim of the nature.

Flora and fauna is sometimes overwhelming, memory that when it arrives at the gallery forest where the house of Merciful was based (the Yukpa which it guided to me in the mountain range), I observed that in the middle of the dense green coloration of the thickness certain flowers existed that in their growth were representing a range of fluorescent colours which they bleached, from the red one to the intense yellow happening through the orange. This on green the intense one of the forest, produced an impressive effect which I catch my attention in the chromatic wonders of the nature, where everything has an answer. Surely those colours act the as to attract the pollination insects.

40. – Atunja flute «Song of beetle». 1’01 » (Toromo, Mountain range of Perijá, Edo. Zulia)

Flauta Atunja is called on to celebrate of the harvest of the maize, formerly two matched men touched flutes while two women marched after them singing and filling with maize buns baskets that they loaded in his backs. The rest of the community dances in circular form after the pairs that the ceremony directed. This rite this related to the myth of the origin of the maize, where the Virianci binoculars are put under multiple tests of magical character, once they obtain you surpass all the dangers obtain like prize the maize seeds, that constitute the fundamental feeding of this town. The organologicals characteristics of the instrument include; a piece of pen of vulture, whose function it is to direct the insufflated air to the bevel, this cane is maintained with a mass of wax of bee hardened with ashes «Mapicha», that as well this mounted in a tube of bamboo of 51 cm, where 4 holes are perforated that allow to vary the tones of the instrument.

41. – Night of Kopecho with thunders. 1’27 » (Novito, Mountain range of Perijá, Edo. Zulia)

The landscape of this region is imposing, electrical storm town majestic and lightning that resonate in the throats of the mountain range to total light of the day. In the deep thing of the mountains they exist old stone formation that the Yukpas used like astronomical observatory. The sky was its calendar and the constellations personages of a myth in which the animals had magical powers. The flora and the fauna are of a moving wealth, gigantic trees that in immemorial times were struck by rays and still they excel between the vegetal vortex, where the resonance of thousand of species animals, conform a unique orchestra of exuberant complexity. They count the Yukpas that in the origin of the world did not exist the night, because in the sky were two suns jaguars, and when one sun hid by the west the other ascended in the east. Nobody had never seen stars, and the heat burning to all the Earth habitants, the most affected it was Kopecho (the wizard) that lived in a marsh surrounded by innumerable, fish, toads, frogs and other animals. Its Jacucha husband the only thing who for was to rest in a hammock, while Kopecho burning of heat. The wizard decided to end suns both, and thus to obtain the yearned for dark.

For this aim, it happened oneself to him to invite to the jaguars sun to a celebration, where she glides to get drunk them and then to defeat them. Kopecho ordered to Jacucha that outside immediate looking for suns, but the husband talked back to him that very he was tired. Then Kopecho ordered the mouse that immediately took to the invitation to the jaguars sun, the mouse accepted, and while it was raising by the mountain, it touched a trumpet done with banana leaves, turuuuuuuu, turuuuuuuuu. When arriving at the sky where it was the community of the jaguars observed that they danced in a celebration, and then forgetting the message Kopecho it remained in the celebration like guest. The infuriated wizard ordered then to the zarigueya one, and happened that this also she put herself to dance in the sky. As I complete Kopecho resource commanded skunk, this with his stinking scent she managed that the jaguars left the sky, to attend the celebration that the wizard had prepared. When arriving the jaguars began to drink Tuka (spirit done of fermented corn) and when they were more euphoric dancing around the Kopecho marsh pushed them the water, one of it fell in the slough, while the other maneuvering with agility managed to escape pushing Kopecho to the marsh, where the wizard was always to turn it a frog. The other jaguar sun did not have the same luck that his brother and fell in muddy waters extinguishing itself. The then dark occupied its position in one of halves of the sky, and the wet jaguar raised the top of a mountain becoming the moon next to its daughters stars. While the triumphant jaguar remains in the sky like the sun that illuminates to us during the day.

Carlos Suárez. 2005.


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Key words: ethnomusicology, bioacoustic, soundscape, Venezuela, field recording.