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For the rhythm typically played on this instrument, see Clave (rhythm). Claves_sentence_0


Percussion instrumentClaves_header_cell_0_0_0
ClassificationClaves_header_cell_0_1_0 Hand percussionClaves_cell_0_1_1
Hornbostel–Sachs classificationClaves_header_cell_0_2_0 111.11

(Concussion idiophone)Claves_cell_0_2_1

Claves (/ˈklɑːveɪz, kleɪvz/; Spanish: [ˈklaβes) are a percussion instrument consisting of a pair of short, wooden sticks about 20-25 centimeters (8-10 inches) long and about 2.5 centimeters (1 inch) in diameter. Claves_sentence_1

Although traditionally made out of wood (typically rosewood, ebony or grenadilla) many modern manufacturers, such as Latin Percussion, offer claves made out of fiberglass or plastic. Claves_sentence_2

When struck, claves produce a bright, penetrating clicking noise. Claves_sentence_3

This makes them useful when playing in large dance bands. Claves_sentence_4

Claves are sometimes hollow and carved in the middle to amplify the sound. Claves_sentence_5

History Claves_section_0

Claves have been very important in the development Afro-Cuban music, such as the son and guaguancó. Claves_sentence_6

They are often used to play an ostinato, or repeating rhythmic figure, throughout a piece known as the clave. Claves_sentence_7

Many examples of clave-like instruments can be found around the world. Claves_sentence_8

Technique Claves_section_1

The basic principle when playing claves is to allow at least one of them to resonate. Claves_sentence_9

The usual technique is to hold one lightly with the thumb and fingertips of the non-dominant hand, with the palm up. Claves_sentence_10

This forms the hand into a resonating chamber for the clave. Claves_sentence_11

Holding the clave on top of fingernails makes the sound clearer. Claves_sentence_12

The other is held by the dominant hand at one end with a firmer grip, much like how one normally holds a drumstick. Claves_sentence_13

With the end of this clave, the player strikes the resting clave in the center. Claves_sentence_14

Traditionally, the striking clave is called el macho ("the male") and the resting clave is called la hembra ("the female"). Claves_sentence_15

This terminology is used even when the claves are identical. Claves_sentence_16

A roll can be achieved on the claves by holding one clave between the thumb and first two fingers, and then alternating pressure between the two fingers to move the clave back and forth. Claves_sentence_17

This clave is then placed against the resonating clave to produce a roll. Claves_sentence_18

Use in popular music Claves_section_2

Among the bands to have used claves are the Beatles in their recording "And I Love Her" and The Who in their song "Magic Bus". Claves_sentence_19

Claves are also utilized in the interstitial spaces of the Night Court theme. Claves_sentence_20

Use in classical music Claves_section_3

Many composers looking to emulate Afro-Cuban music will often use claves such as Arturo Marquez with Danzón No. Claves_sentence_21 2 or George Gershwin with his Cuban Overture. Claves_sentence_22

Steve Reich's Music for Pieces of Wood is written for five pairs of claves. Claves_sentence_23

See also Claves_section_4


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