couplecouple dance of the Quechua and Aymara Indians and of many mestizos (people of Spanish-Indian descent) of Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador. It antedates the Spanish conquest and was possibly an Inca funeral dance; today it is purely festive. A circle of dancing couples surrounds the musicians, whose instruments may be flutes, drums, harps, and guitars. The music is in 24 time. The melodies are rhythmic and pentatonic, i.e., built on a scale of five notes, as D-E-G-A-B-D. Couples perform various figures but do not touch; individuals may carry bright woven bands or, among mestizos, handkerchiefs, or a couple may each grasp ends of a handkerchief
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