Spanish Traditional Instruments

Spanish Traditional Instruments
Spain's history consists of many vibrant cultures, many of which influenced the others. Spain's traditional music
originated with peoples such as the ancient Romans, who carried Greek music to Spain, and the Visigoths, whose music
comprised melodic religious chants, as well as Jewish, Christian, and Moorish music. Different regions of Spain came to
develop their own distinct sounds that integrate specific instruments.
The Basque country of Spain often incorporated accordions into its music. Accordions were introduced to
Basque country from Italy in the 19th century. Accordion playing within Basque
music is known as "trikitixa," which means "hand-sound" in Basque. The style of
accordion playing in Basque music involves rapid melodies and staccato triplets.
Modern-day Basque music is a blend of trikitixa, tambourine and voice.
The modern classical guitar was developed from the Spanish vihuela, a
guitar-like instrument of the 15th and 16th Centuries. The guitar is a
plucked string instrument, usually constructed in wood and played
with fingers or a pick. The guitar consists of a body with a rigid neck to
which the strings, generally six in number, are attached.
The Galician gaita is a traditional bagpipe of the Galicia and
Asturias regions in Spain, and northern Portugal.
The Galician gaita has a conical chanter and a bass drone with a second octave, and it
may have one or two additional drones. In recent years Galician pipe bands playing these
instruments have become popular.
Castanets are a percussion instrument used to accompany
the jota; an up tempo folk song which originates from the
North-eastern region of Aragon. Castanets are a pair of
concave shells, traditionally made from hardwood, joined
on one edge by string. Castanets are held in the hand and
used to produce clicks..
Castanets are traditionally made of castana wood, although they can
also be made of metal, and consist of two cups that contain slightly
curved dips on one side. The two cups are drilled to give off a distinct
sound, with one being slightly higher in pitch and one being lower.
The flabiol is
a woodwind musical
instrument of
as fipple flutes. It is one of the 12 instruments of the cobla. The flabiol
measures about 25 centimeters in length and has five or six holes on its
front face and three underneath.
The flabiol is normally played by the left hand while the player uses the right
hand to beat a small drum (called tamborí) attached to the left elbow.
All sardanes played by a cobla begin with a short introduction (introit) from
the flabiol which is terminated by a single tap of the tamborí.
The tambori is a percussion instrument of about 10 centimetres diameter, a small
shallow cylinder formed of metal or wood with a drumhead of skin. Its usual
function is to accompany the playing of the flabiol in a cobla band, beating the
rhythm of the sardana, the traditional dance of Catalonia.
It is attached to the elbow of the left arm and struck with a drumstick called
a broqueta held by the right hand, while the flabiol can be played at the same time
with the left hand.
The gralla also known as gralla de pastor, xaramita o xirimita, is a
traditional Catalan double reed instrument in the oboe family. Like
the dolçaina from Valencia - a very similar instrument which many
experts consider a variety of the gralla - the gralla comes from the ancient xeremies a
medieval instrument largely used until the Baroque. Probably, the name of the
instrument comes from its strident sound similar to the sound of a native bird of
Catalonia and the north of Spain called gralla too.
The gralla is also very popular because it is the traditional instrument used
during the ascencion and descencion of human towers or castells and other
traditional festivities.