Pifanoa (JMBA bilduma, 0685)

Pifanoa jotzen. 1999.

Pifanoa jotzen Irungo Alardean. Irun, 1900 inguruan. (argazki zatia. Arg. San Martzial eguna KD Enixe 02)


The pifano (fife or transverse flute) belongs to the aerophone group.

Description of the instrument

It is a small wooden or cane flute.

Way of playing

It is held with both hands and the mouth is placed on the mouthpiece, blowing against the edge of the mouthpiece hole.


Although nowadays these types of instruments are not known in our popular music, in the countries around Euskal Herria transversal flutes of various kinds are still used. We believe that they would also be used here at one time. In an old photo of the Alarde de Irun we see a flute accompanied by drums (we must also take into account the "fife" that the "txilibito" receives in Irun).

Irun Alarde around 1900. (Photo: San Martzial eguna, CD Enixe 02)

Another example is found in the article by Jesús Ramos (1990). Among the popular musicians who attended the Pamplona festivals in the 18th century is the following: "Cristóbal Echeverría - Pífano - Arbizu - 1765 - AC (fife + 2 drums)" (p. 105).

Also, in the Gasconia area you can still see groups formed by the "Fifre" (small transverse flute) and the "tambour".

Here is what F. Pedrell refers to this word in the "Technical Dictionary of Music": Pífano.- fifre (fr.). Wind instrument, small flute with a very high voice that is played like the transverse flute and accompanied by a drum or snare.



PEDRELL, Felipe. (1894). Diccionario Técnico de la Música. Serv. rep. de libros, Librerías Paris-Valencia. Facsimil. Valentzia, 1992.

RAMOS, Jesus. (1990). Materiales para la elaboración de un censo de músicos populares de Euskal Herria, a partir de los instrumentistas llegados a Iruñea en el Siglo XVIII. Cuadernos de Etnología y Etnografía de Navarra, (55 zk. 91-138). Iruñea: Institución Principe de Viana.


IRUNGO ALARDEA. (1996). San Martzial Eguna. Enixe Records / Enixe 02.

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