Sonidos y silencios. In English

Home > The site, the author and his work

The site, the author and his work


About Sonidos y silencios | Sounds and silences | The author | Contact | Tierra sin tiempo | Sonidos de una tierra sin tiempo | (Re)building musical instruments | Books, articles and courses | Teaching activities | Wayrachaki editora | Copyright


About Sonidos y silencios

The site Sonidos y silencios (Spanish for "Sounds and silences"), maintained by Edgardo Civallero, is heir to the blogs Bitácora de un músico and Un Sur de sonidos, that were active between 2009 and 2020 and presented products similar to those found in this space, in addition to the digital and bilingual magazine on Andean music and culture Tierra de vientos / Land of winds, currently discontinued.

Sonidos y silencios is a space for academic research, production and dissemination. It is focused on traditional sound cultures, especially on their musical instruments, and on the relationship of that huge and diverse heritage with memory, identity, and knowledge management disciplines (Library & Information Sciences, Archival Science, and Museology). Given the training and professional experience of the author, the work is approached mainly from the perspective of the latter.

The site presents the author's academic initiatives (eg the project Tierra sin tiempo, based on his work Patrimonio en la cama de Procrustes), his educational activities (including Sonidos de una tierra sin tiempo), his publications (books and articles), and a series of short, divulgative blog posts appearing weekly.

It also includes the editorial proposal Wayrachaki editora, which seeks to disseminate traditional knowledge, stories and memories in digital and open access format.

Sounds and silences

An English version of Sonidos y silencios' blog posts is published on the platform Medium, in a space titled Sounds and silences.

The author

My name is Edgardo Civallero (Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1973). I am a librarian and a musician, I build instruments, and I work as a researcher, educator, and writer. I am interested in the world's sounds and silences, and in the many stories they tell, and I feel a special inclination towards the relationship of that sound heritage with memory and identity.

I have a degree in Library & Information Sciences from the National University of Córdoba (Argentina), where I also studied History (Archeology and Anthropology). I have a specialization in Epistemologies of the South (CLACSO) as well. After years of fieldwork, I specialized in collecting and managing oral tradition and music, as well as in the management of traditional knowledge, and in library & archive services devoted to indigenous societies.

In the field of music, I am a multi-instrumentalist since 1990. My musical activities go hand in hand with research, education and the dissemination of knowledge. In that sense go my educational projects: a series of cultural and training activities on sounds, especially the traditional ones. In addition, I publish digital, open access documents on musical instruments.

I currently live in Colombia, where I continue researching, sharing my outcomes, learning and teaching, composing and performing music, building and playing traditional instruments, exploring other musical horizons and participating in new projects. Among the latter is Tierra sin tiempo ("Land without time"), which recovers and puts to dialogue documents and artifacts from libraries, archives and museums related to musical practices (and their necessary silences) and seeks to revitalize memories and create new sound-related ideas.


I can be contacted through my personal email, edgardocivallero (at) gmail (dot) com, or through my social networks (lower navigation bar).

Tierra sin tiempo

Tierra sin tiempo ("Land without time") is an action-research and digital humanities project, based on my work Patrimonio en la cama de Procrustes (Bogotá, 2021).

The project starts from a basic idea: to understand the so-called "(in)tangible heritage" as a kind of "land without time" where many and different collections accumulate, with different roots, historical routes, horizons and formats; collections from which current cultural and identity experiences, proposals and ideas are fed. The idea is nourished by traditional, indigenous and rural thoughts and understandings on heritage and memory, identified globally and at different times in human history.

From that starting point, Tierra sin tiempo analyzes the role that knowledge and memory management disciplines and institutions (libraries, archives, and museums) have played in the fragmentation, decontextualization and isolation of cultural heritage; the reasons for this fragmentation, and its consequences; the potential mechanisms of reconstruction and resignification of the original cultural heritage; and the use of this "land without time" for the creation of new proposals.

This is a theoretical work with practical applications, including the project Sonidos de una tierra sin tiempo ("Sounds of a land without time", see below), which works specifically with sound heritage.

Sonidos de una tierra sin tiempo

Sonidos de una tierra sin tiempo ("Sounds of a land without time") is a cultural activity based on the ideas developed within the framework of the action-research project Tierra sin tiempo ("Land without time", see above).

It is a series of educational concerts that, based on the idea of the (in)tangible heritage (and, specifically, the traditional sound heritage) as a kind of common "land without time", shows, in short presentations, the result of the dialogue between thousands of museum artifacts, recreated or invented instruments, original archival documents in all formats, library texts, and records of rural and urban oral tradition.

All of it, revolving around musical instruments, their stories, their identities, their contexts, their voices, their silences, and their relationships with other cultural elements.

(Re)building musical instruments

The work developed for years in Sonidos y silencios and its predecessors, together with the one of the project Tierra sin tiempo and, above all, that of Sonidos de una tierra sin tiempo (see all above), has led me to come into contact with a huge amount of information related to traditional musical instruments. Starting to build museum instruments, to (re)build archaeological and ethnographic sound artifacts and to innovate, creating new elements, was only a matter of time for me.

I use the (re)constructed instruments (along with others acquired through various channels) in my teaching activities and, specially, in the concerts of Sonidos de una tierra sin tiempo.

Each one of them is just the tiny end of a huge web that includes a lot of knowledge and a lot of memories related to their histories, contexts, societies, natures, construction techniques, traditions, territories, languages and myths.

Books, articles and courses

I publish and distribute open-access, digital books, articles and courses, in Spanish and English, on traditional musical instruments, especially (but not exclusively) from Latin America. These publications aim to disseminate basic knowledge about unknown cultural heritage.

All documents are published in digital format (.pdf) and display original bibliographic research on organology and ethnomusicology. The texts are distributed under an international Creative Commons by-nc-nd 4.0 license and can be read and downloaded here and at ResearchGate, Acta Académica, Issuu, Scribd, and Calameo.

Teaching activities

The educational activities I carry out include didactic concerts and exhibitions, conferences, courses, workshops and seminars, both on traditional musical instruments, the musical culture they encode and the environment that surrounds them, as well as on oral and sound tradition and its management.

A. Didactic concerts and exhibitions

Aimed at different types of audience, with different durations and structures. They cover a wide spectrum of topics related to traditional musical instruments of the world: from the presentation of families of instruments (aerophones, chordophones, membranophones) to the description by geographical regions / countries, ethnic groups, musical genres or historical periods. All concerts include exhibition and demonstration of instruments, fragments of oral tradition and content based on solid academic sources and research by the author.

Examples (from South America): Indigenous instruments of the South American highlands / lowlands | Mestizo / Creole Instruments from South America | Instruments of the Andes | Traditional South American Wind / String / Percussion Instruments | South American Panpipes / Notched flutes / Duct flutes | South American transverse / globular flutes | South American natural trumpets | South American clarinets | South American musical bows / chordophones | South American Percussion Instruments | The sounds of the Gran Chaco / Patagonia / Orinoquia | Musical instruments and traditions of the Quechua / Aymara / Mapuche.

B. Conferences

Aimed at different types of audience, with different durations and structures. Theoretical events similar in themes to the didactic concerts, although replacing the exhibition and demonstration of instruments by the use of relevant audiovisual and multimedia supports.

Examples (from South America): Musical instruments (charangos and sirens, the bands of sikuris...) | Rhythms and musical styles (Colombian chirimía, gaúcha music...) | Traditional music (from the Guaraní, from the Sierra Nevada...) | | Oral tradition and sound culture (in Patagonia, in the Andes...) | Dances and clothing (in the central Peruvian highlands, on the Argentine coast...) | Fiestas, ceremonies and festivals (in the lowlands, on Titicaca...) | Customs, myths and legends (Afro-Bolivians, in the lower Amazon...).

C. Courses and workshops

Aimed at different types of audience, with different durations and structures. Eminently practical events, which include the construction (only in some cases) and interpretation of traditional musical instruments from all around the world. They focus especially on aerophones and idiophones, and community ensembles, although they also cover many other styles and instruments.

Examples (from South America): Construction of simple instruments (sikus, quenas, bows) | Performance of solo instruments (quena, pinkillo, zampoña, rondador, tarka, mohoseño, bombo legüero, charango...) | Group performance in traditional ensembles (sikuris, vertical flute groups, Argentine folk quartet, Colombian flutes...) | Performance of different rhythms and styles (by regions, countries, ethnic groups, festivities...).

D. Seminars

Aimed at different types of audience, with different durations and structures. Similar to courses and workshops, but with mostly theoretical and specialized content.

Examples: Musical instruments (by family, by region, by town) | Rhythms and musical styles (by country, by region, by town) | Traditional music (by country, by region, by town) | Oral tradition and sound culture | Dances (choreographies, styles) and clothing (by region) | Fiestas, ceremonies and festivals (by period, by town) | Customs, myths and legends (by region, by town) | Collection of oral tradition (methodology and practice) | Management of oral and sound tradition (methodology and practice) | Methodology of musicological research | Field organology (methodology and practice).

Wayrachaki editora

Wayrachaki editora (Publishing House) was an initiative born in 2007 in Córdoba (Argentina), when independent publishers dedicated to exclusively digital and open access contents were not very well known. Through it, I published (as both author and editor) my works on libraries in indigenous societies (in Spanish).

Resumed today in the same spirit with which it was born (digital books to be distributed under an open access license), Wayrachaki editora focuses on the dissemination of contents related to memories and traditional knowledge, especially indigenous and Latin American ones. So far, books on traditional Latin American musical instruments have been published through this label, but it is open to other authors and other topics, always related to its central theme.

Those interested in the digital book publishing and design services provided by Wayrachaki editora are invited to contact me directly (see email above).

Wayrachaki is a Quechua word that literally means "feet of wind", i.e. "wanderer".


The textual contents published in this site are the intellectual property of the author, unless otherwise indicated, and are distributed by means of a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Work (by-nc-nd) 4.0 International license. This implies that the material can be copied and redistributed in any medium or format, as long as the authorship is properly acknowledged, it is not used for a commercial purpose, and the derivative work is not disseminated.