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International Music Resources by Country: Honduras

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

Honduras hillside

Citation (1)

Map of Honduras

Map of Honduras

Citation (2)

Books & CDs

Garland Encyclopedia of World Music-Honduras

Garland Encyclopedia of World Music Cover Art

Honduran Music

Música de Honduras Album Art

Música de Honduras. Honduras Caribeña Album Art

Pensando en Voz Alta Album Art


Flag of Honduras


Capital: Tegucigalpa

Official Language: Spanish

Current Population: 9,450,711

Climate:  The climate ranges from temperate in the mountainous regions to tropical in the coastal plains: the mean annual temperature is 24°C (75°F). The rainy season is from May to October.

Area: 112,492 sq km

Religion: Christianity

Citation: Country Profile (Honduras), in Europa World online. London, Routledge. University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Retrieved 29 September 2021 from

Traditional Honduran Music


Six indigenous groups have been identified as being separate from the majority mestizo culture; each group has retained elements of indigenous culture to varying degrees. The most recent population figures remain an estimate (1950) of 80,000 semi-acculturated Lenca in four southwestern departments. The bumbum, used in a variety of contexts, is the onomatopoeic name of the long music bow known by mestizos as the caramba. Maracas, bamboo flutes with three and four finger-holes, and drums accompany dance during annual festivities. The bra-tara flutes are used in the sikro funerary ceremony. These are 1 metre long with four holes located towards the distal end to produce a low tone. Another flute, the liban, is a three-holed globular flute made from a crab's claw and bees' wax. A friction drum, translated as llamador del tigre (caller of the jaguar), consists of a large hollow gourd across which goatskin is stretched. Pulling a string made from horse-hair through a small hole in the skin produces a loud sound of low register that is used to flush out wildlife during a hunt.


There have been three migrations of peoples of African descent to what is now Honduras. The first occurred during the early colonial period, when a small number of Africans were taken into the central part of the country. Although this group probably introduced both the marimba and the caramba (musical bow), it later mixed so thoroughly with the dominant mestizo population that it no longer exists as a distinct group. At the end of the 20th century, there were no identifiably African musical stylistic retentions in mestizo music. The Garifuna in Honduras were the first to organize a performing Garifuna folk troupe in the mid-1960s, El Ballet Garífuna. In addition, punta, a song form once part of Garifuna funerary ritual, developed into a new popular music style in the mid-1980s. Although punta is usually sung in Garifuna and includes at least part of the garavón drum ensemble, as it became more widely popular it also integrated a host of non-Garifuna Afro-Caribbean musical influences. 


The essential foundation for musical expression among the majority mestizo population has come from Spanish musical culture, dating from European contact, together with the later introduction of other European musical influences.  Two examples of the latter are the fandango Fandango danced to solo guitar without the use of castanets, which had been accepted as a national form by the 1850s, and La lanza, a shortening of La cuadrilla de lanceros, which was popular among the semi-urban middle classes at the beginning of the 1880s and has since become part of the rural campesino (peasant) folkdance repertory. A major instrument of mestizo folk music is the Marimba. The large chromatic marimba was first imported from Guatemala and southern Mexico around the beginning of the 20th century.The caramba or zambumbia, a monocord over 2 metres long, is the other major instrument used in mestizo music that is of African origin. The bulk of other folkdance forms and their corresponding musical accompaniments carry the titles of European salon dances that took root throughout the mestizo population during the colonial and early independence period. The most popular  include cuadrilladanzacontradanzamazurcaperekepolkavalsvarsoviana and zapateado. 

Citation (3)

Composer Highlight: Manuel de Adalid y Gamero

Manuel de Adalid y Gamero

Manuel de Adalid y Gamero

Honduran composer and concert bandleader. He studied at the Honduran National Conservatory and was active as an organist in Guatemala City and in Danlí. Trained also as a civil engineer, he invented an organ of bamboo pipes he named the orquestrofono. In 1895 he formed a municipal band and orchestra in Danlí, from whose success he was promoted to supervise all military bands, the salient performance ensembles of classical music at the time. Under his leadership, the band of the Supremos Poderes achieved regional prominence. His output of polkas, waltzes, mazurkas and marches all scored for concert band reflects the musical environment of the Honduran middle class in the first decades of the 20th century. Two of his major compositions received international exposure: La suita tropical in Seville, Spain; and Los funerales de un conejito, which was performed by the US Service Orchestra in Washington, DC, in 1936. Other works include La muerte del bardo, a trio for violin, cello and harp, and the short symphonic poems Una noche en Honduras and Las fantasmas del castillo enbrujado. His writing in all idioms remained in a highly conservative mould. He was the most important musical educator of his time in Honduras: he directed the national school for bandmasters, and his student, Francisco Ramón Díaz Zelaya (1896–1977), was the first Honduran to write large-scale symphonic works.

Citation: Scruggs, T.  Adalid y Gamero, Manuel de. Grove Music Online. Retrieved 30 Sep. 2021, from


(1): "Olancho "Highway", Honduras" by "asterisktom

(2): Country Profile (Honduras), in Europa World online. London, Routledge. University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Retrieved 29 September 2021 from

(3): Scruggs, T.M. "Honduras." Grove Music Online. 2001; Accessed 4 Oct. 2021.