Musicians: Oiartzungo Arozenatarrak

Oiartzun, 1999

Silbotea, txistua eta atabala. Pasaiako batelarien zortzikoa (zatia). Oiartzungo Arozenatarrak. Oiartzun, 1999.

Silbotea (JMBA bilduma, 0231)

Silbotea. Gasteizko udal txistulariak.

Silbotea. Iruñako zale gazteek osatutako txistulari taldea: Arraras, Olazarán, Argaiz eta Frutos. 1930 hamarkada (Arg.: H. Olazaran de Estella. Txistu. Tratado de flauta vasca)


The silbote is a fiplle flute, and thus an aerophone.

Description of the instrument

Although it is larger, it has the same structure as the txistu. It is a txistu tuned a fourth or fifth lower.

Way of playing

Due to its , it is difficult to play it with one hand, and the silbote players usually use both hands. With one hand they cover the three holes in the tube, and with the index of the other hand they manipulate the lower mouth of the instrument.


Although we do not know for sure when it was created, we have seen the silbote in the group of classic txistularis for over a hundred years. The oldest news we have found about this group of instruments is from the early 19th century. We see a fixed group of txistularis: txistu 1, txistu 2 (both with tambourine), silbote and atabal, a quartet that has survived to our time. It is clearly seen that the txistularis wanted to form a "chamber" group them, and thus, to the two previous txistus it seemed that they had added another lower whistle (the silbote) to enrich the harmony.

The oldest news about this instrument can be read in Humboldt's writing in 1801 (P. Donostia, 1994): "For music that contains several parts, they use a major txistu, and this, naturally, is in a chapel tone" (p. 1535).

Carlos Dembowski (P. Donostia, 1952) when he visited our land in 1838-1840 wrote the following: Carlos Dembowski says that the Zortzico «is danced to the sound of the tambourine, an orchestra composed of two fifes and two tambourines. These instruments are not played by more than two musicians. (Note that the presence of the atabal was not necessary to reinforce the rhythm). On great occasions ... the orchestra is reinforced with two other musicians, one who plays the silbato, a low-sounding flute, and the other a harsher drum, and who, as it were, make the bass of the sounds. higher than the other instruments.» (Here we have the complete group currently known).



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