Danburia - Ttun ttun, salterio

ABIATZE (Xiberoko dantza jauzia)

Soinularia: Mixel Etxekopar

Gotein, 1999

Ttun ttun joaldia. Juan Mari Beltran. Oiartzun, 1998.

Ttunttuna-Danburia (JMBA bilduma, 0133)

Ttunttuna-Danburia (JMBA bilduma, 0132)

Lexarduart xirularia. Atarratze, 1920 hamarkadan. (arg.: H. Olazaran de Estella. Txistu. Tratado de flauta vasca)


The ttun-ttun or danburi is a struck chordophone. It has been widely used in Europe, especially on both sides of the Pyrenees. In the Basque Country it has been preserved especially in Zuberoa, although it was more widespread in the past. Above all, it has been played along with the three-hole flute, forming a pair of instruments.

Description of the instrument and way of playing

The instrument consists of a long wooden soundboard with different shaped windows. It has six strings, stretched vertically. These strings are struck with a stick, giving the rhythm and the harmonic base (dominant-tonic). To be able to change the key, some instruments have a movable bridge that changes the tone of all the strings at the same time.

Pierre Errekalt has been the last old builder of Zuberoa. He was able to make different models. The danburi from Zuberoa is one of the smallest in the Pyrenees and has the appearance of a stylized head of a bull.

At Zuberoa, the ttun-ttun also experienced a notable setback in the 20th century: the atabalero apparently replaced the rhythmic function of the danburi. However, since the 1980s it has been gradually recovering and today we can see it frequently in the performances of young flute players from Zuberoa.


This string drum has been known in the Basque Country under different s: tambourine, ttun ttun, sound, arrabita, psaltery, tambourin.

We have found an instrument of this type in the San Telmo Museum in San Sebastián. Bought at Atharratz de Zuberoa, it entered the Museum in 1917 under the "arrabita (tambourin basque)" (J. M. Beltrán, 1997).


Oriz Palace (Elorz Valley. Navarra):

"Among the admirable frescoes or murals of the Palacio de Oriz // there are those that appear three txistularis musicians. One is perfect, with his straight flute and tambourine, // Another of the musicians plays a straight flute and a tun-tun or psaltery that strikes with a drumstick // the third plays a tambourine, accompanying the straight flute (Olazarán, 1935. XXIII-XXIV)

Father Donostia (1952) collected a large amount of information and the vicissitudes that this instrument has had throughout history:

"In the Basque-French region, an instrument called "soinu", tambourin, is substituted for the drum or tambourin. It is also referred to as "bertz". [...] In 1701 it is cited as "Tambourin de Biscaye", and five or six years before Pierre de Lancre in the book already mentioned, "Tambor de bizcaya sin piel". [...]

The musician who plays the flute carries this instrument by holding it with his left arm (with which he plays the instrument) and tapping on it with a stick that he carries in his right hand. It is a narrow and widowed box, with little resonance; it has two or three more or less historiated openings, and in some of them up to four "ears". Several strings are laid, some gut and some metal. Their number varies. There are five, six and even ten. According to Madame de la Villéhélio they are tuned in fifth. [...]

In the Basque Museum of Bayonne there are four of these tambourines; two with 6 strings, one with 5 and the other with 1. The of these instruments ranges 77 and 84 cm. The pegs are all made of wood. T-shaped tuning keys, one made of wood; the other has a wooden handle, but an iron foot." (P. 274)

"Let's not forget that the stick with which the strings are struck is covered with velvet cloth" (p. 275). (Note: we have already seen such a leather-lined stick in the Museum of Bayonne)

"This instrument is used only in the Zuberoa region (French Basque Country). From the data that I have collected, verval and written, it should also have been used in the Laburdin region (also French Basque), where it is no longer known today. Madame Van Eys says: "Il paraît exister à Guethary un compromisent de musique appelé ... (ttun-ttun). C'est a morceau de bois percé de trois trous sur lequel sont tendues des cordes. Tout en jouant de la flute on frappe ces cordes d'un petit bâton rond".

E. Boucher (Souvenirs du Pays Basque et des Pyrénées in 1819 and 1820), speaking of the Basques in general and of the shortened region in particular, says: "L'orchester ... est composé pour l'ordinaire d'a violin ou d'une flûte à trois trous (chirola) qui se joue d'une main, tandis que le musicien s’accompagne de l’autre sur un tambourin ou sur une espece de tympanon qu’il frappe avec un petit bâton pour marquer la mesure...”.

This psalter must have sounded in Tudela at festivals of the years 1532, 1565, 1580, according to accounts: "We paid two psalteries and hunter rabiquete who paid three twelve crowned salaries on Saint Peter's Day (1532); to Juan Manrique and Francisco Planillo Neighbors of Tarazona, the sum of two ducats ... they came with their drum and psaltery to rejoice the days and festivals of Santa Ana and Señor San Pedro, as in other years it is customary to do.

These psalteries existed in French Navarre (Lower Navarra) and in Baztan, as my friend Ignacio Baleztena communicates to me in a private letter. They are references to rabeleros and psalteries that performed at the San Fermín festivities in the 17th and 18th centuries. Thus, in 1610, "Martín de Gazolaz, master of dances, resident in Pamplona, ​​produced a dance of nine gallants in green and purple livery, with two julares, one with a psaltery and the other with shawls." In 1641, "Martín and Juan de Marte, from Baztanese, came with a psaltery and a tambourine. And Juan de Gorroz, jular rabelista and Guillén de Garroch psaltery, bascos, making music in the streets with vigolin and psaltery and dancing the violinist saying".

In 1643 came "The said Martarena de Arizcun with two psalteries. Miguel de Arteta, a resident of Pamplona, ​​produced a dance of eight to the sound of the psalter. Anton Gorri and Basque-French companions with two psalteries, a rabel and two dancers." (Pág . 275)

"In 1697 Pedro de Echeverria, jular, and six fellow julares and psalters, charged 150 reales for the occupation and work of playing the julares, psaltery and rabel. [...] It is very rare, in our country, the iconographic representation of the danburi. However, there is one that deserves to be mentioned, and it is from the 16th century. It is a wall painting from the palace of Oriz (Navarra). In the paintings of the rooms of the first bay there is a psaltery in the hands of a child who , at the same time, he plays a recorder. "(p. 276)

In the article by Jesús Ramos (1990) it is clearly seen that this type of instrument (psalteries) were used in the 18th century throughout the Basque Country. Among the musicians who attended the feasts of Pamplona throughout the 18th century, the following references to this type of instrument appear (pages 100 to 120). The list mentions the of the musician, what they play, where they come from, in what year and sometimes in what kind of group they played:

  • Juan de Alacorena - Salterio - Arizcun - 1749, 1745.
  • Guillermo Alós - Salterio - Soule - 1776, 1778-79.
  • Pedro Arizpe - Rabel, salterio, violín - San Juan de Pie de Puerto - 1708, 1716.
  • Juan Bentura Arrien - Salterio - Francia - 1792.
  • Pedro Arrosen - Salterio - Francia - 1777.
  • Pablo Astolja - Violines y salterio - Vitoria - 1743.
  • Pedro Bayona - Salterio - Bayona - 1771 - ac(2s).
  • Pedro Bearcoiz - Salterio - Bayona - 1769.
  • Hilarión de Bengoa - Txistu, salterio - Rentería - 1781 / Durango - 1788, 1797 - ac(3) (muy bueno) / Tolosa - 1789-92.
  • Julián Bengoa - Txistu, salterio - Tolosa - 1789-92.
  • Guillermo Biriarta - Salterio - Baja Navarra - 1773 - ac(4).
  • Nicolás Delgue - Salterio - San Juan de Pie de Puerto - 1756-57.
  • Sebastián Dielte - Salterio - Irurre - 1789.
  • Domingo Doningan - Salterio - Baja Navarra - 1779.
  • Domingo Echepare - Salterio - San Juan de Luz - 1790.
  • Pedro Etchepare - Salterio - San Juan de Luz - 1788.
  • Jerónimo Echeverría - Salterio - Irurita - 1740 - ac(2).
  • Juan de Echeverría - Salterios y violines - Errazu - 1747.
  • Martín de Echeverría - Salterio - Arizcun - 1728, 1733-34.
  • Pedro Echeverria - Salterio - Soule - 1775-76.
  • Joseph Elizalde - Salterio - Zumarreta - 1763.
  • Juan Elizalde - Salterio - San Juan de Pie de Puerto - 1740, 1746-47, 1756, 1771.
  • Tomás Elizalde - Salterio - Francia - 1778.
  • Juan de Eyalar - Salterios y violín - San Juan de Pie de Puerto - 1764.
  • Miguel de Ilaregui - Violín y salterio - Legorreta - 1743.
  • Salvador de Iturburu - Salterio - Francia - 1798.
  • Gárriz de Iturralde - Salterio - Francia - 1775.
  • Lorenzo Iturralde - Salterios y violines - San Juan de Pie de Puerto - 1766-67.
  • Pedro Iturralde - Salterio y violín - San Juan de Pie de Puerto - 1760-61, 1763-64.
  • Juan de Jaunrena - Salterio - Baztán - 1763 - ac(3).
  • Juan de Jaurena - Salterio - Arizcun - 1774.
  • Guillén Julian - Salterio - Soule - 1774.
  • Simón Labat - Salterios y violín - Baja Navarra - 1782.
  • Antón Larrega - Salterio - Francia - 1788.
  • Antonio Larregain - Salterio - Baja Navarra - 1790.
  • Domingo Larregain - Salterio - Baja Navarra - 1790.
  • Francisco Larregain - Salterio - Francia - 1792.
  • Domingo Lecumberri - Salterio - Baja Navarra - 1780.
  • Juan de Leralde - Salterio y violín - Baja Navarra - 1770.
  • Julián Leremon - Salterio - Baigorri - 1790.
  • Tomás de Maestruenea - Salterio - Baztán - 1719, 1732.
  • Miguel de Maistruarena - Violines y salterios - Arizcun - 1743, 1746.
  • Tomás Maistrurena - Txistu, salterio - Arizcun - 1707, 1709, 1732.
  • Pedro Josef Martinicorena - Salterio - Bayona - 1798-99.
  • Pedro de Martirena - Salterio - Francia - 1792.
  • Domingo Miñatena - Salterios y violín - Arizcun - 1717.
  • Juan Miñatena - Txistu, salterio - Arizcun - 1756-57, 1759-60 - el año 1757.
  • Antonio Mirantena - Salterio - Osses - 1765.
  • Matías Palacios - Salterio - Petilla de Aragón - 1789.
  • Antón Perchegui - Salterio - Baigorri - 1790.
  • Gabriel de Recarte - Salterio - Valcarlos - 1735.
  • Juan de Recarte - Salterio - Valcarlos - 1720.
  • Pedro Recarte - Salterio y violín - Baja Navarra - 1716, 1723.
  • Bernardo de Sala - Salterio - Baja Navarra - 1779.
  • Juanis de San Juan - Salterio y violín - San Juan de Pie de Puerto - 1767.
  • Sebastián San Juan - Salterio - Francia - 1782.
  • Francisco Ustariz - Violines y salterios - Berroeta - 1743 - ac(3).
  • Pedro Viracoy - Salterio - Bayona - 1774.
  • Antonio Ylart - Salterio - Baja Navarra - 1758.

The German expert Wilhelm Freicher Von Humboldt, in his article "De la Música del País Vascongado", written after his trips to the Basque Country in the years 1799 and 1801, offers interesting information about this instrument, published in the Cancionero Vasco del P San Sebastián (Example VIII). As can be seen there, due to the poor state of the manuscript, some parts have not been clarified:

"Accompanying the whistle (txistu) when it is played in open places .... Drum that serves to mark the movement ........ Very bad effect to the habituated ears ...... out of tune that helps the. ... Natives of the Country made to that one. But if he plays in closed places, then a kind of quadrilongo psaltery with six strings (the French drum) which they call Chunchun replaces the drum. The 6 strings are tempered in fifths. .. Moving bridge is raised or lowered at the same time .... the intonation in which it is played. a continuous bass to the song, muted enough not to obscure it "(p. 1535).



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