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International Music Resources by Country: Ecuador

International Music Resources offers an array of online and physical resources both freely available and/or offered by the George F. DeVine Music Library. The information included in these guides may serve as a starting point for the study and research of

Panoramic Photo of Quito

Citation (1)

Map of Ecuador

Map of Ecuador

Citation (5)


Listen to Ecuadorian Music

Ecuador album art

Ecuador: El Grito de Libertad (The Cry of Freedom)

¡Así Kotama! The Flutes of Otavalo, Ecuador

Garland Encyclopedia of World Music-Ecuador

Garland Encyclopedia Cover Art

Online Resources

Facts in Brief

Flag of Ecuador


Capital: Quito

Official Language: Spanish

Location: The Republic of Ecuador lies on the west coast of South America. It is bordered by Colombia to the north, by Peru to the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west.

Area: 272,045 sq km (105,037 sq miles).

Current Population:  2,723,665

Climate: The climate is tropical at sea level, the Costa being hot and humid, with an average annual temperature of 26°C (78°F). 

Money: United States Dollar

Main Religion: Christianity

Citations (3 and 4)

Traditional Ecuadorian Music

Sanjuanes: often evincing a condensed ballad character, they may be autobiographical, history-recounting or enumerative. The sanjuán, performed in both ritual and non-ritual contexts, is in complex litany form where, notably in performances involving the Imbabura diatonic harp, amidst the regular repetition of a single, primary motif, one new break or secondary motif may be inserted.

Bomba: The dance-song bomba emerged from the culture of the sugar mill, a colonial-era institution introduced to Chota by the Jesuits; the extant bomba Mete caña al trapiche refers to this way of life. The allegro bomba may evince call-and-response texture, repetitive melody, simple duple or sesquialtera metre, bimodal harmony (relative minor/major) and rigorous syncopation.

Tonada: The mestizo dance-song form tonada is waltz-like, in a moderate triple metre and manifests a characteristic Ecuadorian minor- relative major bimodality, with a cadence in the minor dominant. 

Pasillo: The unmistakable quality of the deliberate, triple-metre character of the pasillo, and its elegance of expression, its inevitable reference to a (sometimes denied) love of the past, or to some other sadness of the past have been noted by the central highland harpist César Muquinche.

Yaraví: The yaraví, an elegiac vocal form of the northern and southern Andes, dates back to the colonial period and displays moderately slow tempo, triple or multi-metres, binary or rounded binary form and a regular phrase structure. 

Citation (4)

Composer Highlight: Luis Humberto Salgado

Ecuadorian composer Luis Humberto Salgado

Dec 10, 1903 - Dec 11, 1977

Ecuadorian composer, pianist and music critic. He first studied with his father Francisco Salgado, himself a composer, then entered the Quito Conservatory in 1910. His first attempts at composition dated from 1913. As a teenager he played the piano in silent-film theatres. He graduated in piano in 1928 and in 1934 was appointed professor of solfège and harmony at the Quito Conservatory (director for two periods, beginning in 1952). Besides directing the group Camara Voz Andes, he founded and directed the symphonic ensemble of the Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana and conducted the orchestra and chorus of the conservatory. For many years he was the music critic of the daily El comercio, and he contributed to the Spanish journal Ritmo.

Salgado is generally considered the leading composer of his generation. He was a prolific composer, mostly of a musical nationalist persuasion, as his numerous symphonies, tone poems, concertos and operas bear witness. He also cultivated typical Ecuadorian popular genres, such as the sanjuanito and pasillo. His Sanjuanito futurista (1944) for piano combines elements of that popular genre with 12-tone technique. Many of his works are based on indigenous themes (with the omnipresent pentatonic scale) and refer to national history. 

Citation: Béhague, G.  Salgado (Torres), Luis Humberto. Grove Music Online. Retrieved 3 Jun. 2021, from


(1): "Quito" by "Jonas Witt

(2): Country Flag (Ecuador), in Europa World online. London, Routledge. University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Retrieved 12 March 2019 from

(3): Ecuador, in Europa World online. London, Routledge. University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Retrieved 12 March 2019 from

(4): Béhague, G., & Schechter, J.  (2001). Ecuador. Grove Music Online. Retrieved 27 Mar. 2020, from

(5): Country Map (Ecuador), in Europa World online. London, Routledge. University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Retrieved 12 March 2019 from