is a guitar
-related instrument from South America
. It is featured in the traditional music
of South America
, particularly the Andes
regions that were once part of the Inca
The song "El Condor Pasa" by Simon and Garfunkel is a "western" example of the type of music charango is featured in. This piece of music is typical of the genre in that it appears with the pan flute.
After the invasion of the Americas by Spain, the Incas were so impressed with the Spaniards' vihuela that they made their own version of it. Lacking the woodworking skills to make the body of the instrument, they used the hollowed out bodies of armadillos for the body of the "charango," which takes its name from a native Qechua word for "armadillo".
The charango is a ten stringed instrument that has five pairs of double stings similar to a mandolin, which it also resembles in tone. The string pairs are normally tuned EE AA Ee CC GG, though other tunings exist. This tuning often gets it compared to a mandolin or even a harp.
Like any other instrument, variations of the charango exist, including the ronrocco (larger and tuned lower) and the hualaycho (smaller and tuned higher).