A synthesizer or synthesiser is an electronic musical instrument that generates audio signals that may be converted to sound. Synthesizers may imitate traditional musical instruments such as piano, vocals, or natural sounds such as ocean waves, they are played with a musical keyboard, but they can be controlled via a variety of other devices, including music sequencers, instrument controllers, guitar synthesizers, wind controllers, electronic drums. Synthesizers without built-in controllers are called sound modules, are controlled via USB, MIDI or CV/gate using a controller device a MIDI keyboard or other controller. Synthesizers use various methods to generate electronic signals. Among the most popular waveform synthesis techniques are subtractive synthesis, additive synthesis, wavetable synthesis, frequency modulation synthesis, phase distortion synthesis, physical modeling synthesis and sample-based synthesis. Synthesizers were first used in pop music in the 1960s. In the late 1970s, synths were used in progressive rock and disco.
In the 1980s, the invention of the inexpensive Yamaha DX7 synth made digital synthesizers available. 1980s pop and dance music made heavy use of synthesizers. In the 2010s, synthesizers are used in many genres, such as pop, hip hop, metal and dance. Contemporary classical music composers from the 20th and 21st century write compositions for synthesizer; the beginnings of the synthesizer are difficult to trace, as it is difficult to draw a distinction between synthesizers and some early electric or electronic musical instruments. One of the earliest electric musical instruments, the Musical Telegraph, was invented in 1876 by American electrical engineer Elisha Gray, he accidentally discovered the sound generation from a self-vibrating electromechanical circuit, invented a basic single-note oscillator. This instrument used steel reeds with oscillations created by electromagnets transmitted over a telegraph line. Gray built a simple loudspeaker device into models, consisting of a vibrating diaphragm in a magnetic field, to make the oscillator audible.
This instrument was a remote electromechanical musical instrument that used telegraphy and electric buzzers that generated fixed timbre sound. Though it lacked an arbitrary sound-synthesis function, some have erroneously called it the first synthesizer. In 1897 Thaddeus Cahill was granted his first patent for an electronic musical instrument, which by 1901 he had developed into the Telharmonium capable of additive synthesis. Cahill's business was unsuccessful for various reasons, but similar and more compact instruments were subsequently developed, such as electronic and tonewheel organs including the Hammond organ, invented in 1935. In 1906, American engineer Lee de Forest invented the first amplifying vacuum tube, the Audion whose amplification of weak audio signals contributed to advances in sound recording and film, the invention of early electronic musical instruments including the theremin, the ondes martenot, the trautonium. Most of these early instruments used heterodyne circuits to produce audio frequencies, were limited in their synthesis capabilities.
The ondes martenot and trautonium were continuously developed for several decades developing qualities similar to synthesizers. In the 1920s, Arseny Avraamov developed various systems of graphic sonic art, similar graphical sound and tonewheel systems were developed around the world. In 1938, USSR engineer Yevgeny Murzin designed a compositional tool called ANS, one of the earliest real-time additive synthesizers using optoelectronics. Although his idea of reconstructing a sound from its visible image was simple, the instrument was not realized until 20 years in 1958, as Murzin was, "an engineer who worked in areas unrelated to music". In the 1930s and 1940s, the basic elements required for the modern analog subtractive synthesizers — electronic oscillators, audio filters, envelope controllers, various effects units — had appeared and were utilized in several electronic instruments; the earliest polyphonic synthesizers were developed in the United States. The Warbo Formant Orgel developed by Harald Bode in Germany in 1937, was a four-voice key-assignment keyboard with two formant filters and a dynamic envelope controller.
The Hammond Novachord released in 1939, was an electronic keyboard that used twelve sets of top-octave oscillators with octave dividers to generate sound, with vibrato, a resonator filter bank and a dynamic envelope controller. During the three years that Hammond manufactured this model, 1,069 units were shipped, but production was discontinued at the start of World War II. Both instruments were the forerunners of the electronic organs and polyphonic synthesizers. In the 1940s and 1950s, before the popularization of electronic organs and the introductions of combo organs, manufacturers developed various portable monophonic electronic instruments with small keyboards; these small instruments consisted of an electronic oscillator, vibrato effect, passive filters. Most were designed for conventional ensembles, rather than as experimental instruments for electronic music studios, but contributed to the evolution of modern synthesizers; these instruments include the Solovox, Multimonica and Clavioline.
In the late 1940s, Canadian inventor and composer, Hugh Le Caine invented the Electronic Sackbut, a voltage-controlled electronic musical instrument that provided the earliest real-time control of three aspects of sound —corresponding to today's touch-sensitive keyboard and modulation controllers. The controllers were impl
The clarinet is a family of woodwind instruments. It has a single-reed mouthpiece, a straight, cylindrical tube with an cylindrical bore, a flared bell. A person who plays a clarinet is called a clarinetist. While the similarity in sound between the earliest clarinets and the trumpet may hold a clue to its name, other factors may have been involved. During the Late Baroque era, composers such as Bach and Handel were making new demands on the skills of their trumpeters, who were required to play difficult melodic passages in the high, or as it came to be called, clarion register. Since the trumpets of this time had no valves or pistons, melodic passages would require the use of the highest part of the trumpet's range, where the harmonics were close enough together to produce scales of adjacent notes as opposed to the gapped scales or arpeggios of the lower register; the trumpet parts that required this specialty were known by the term clarino and this in turn came to apply to the musicians themselves.
It is probable that the term clarinet may stem from the diminutive version of the'clarion' or'clarino' and it has been suggested that clarino players may have helped themselves out by playing difficult passages on these newly developed "mock trumpets". Johann Christoph Denner is believed to have invented the clarinet in Germany around the year 1700 by adding a register key to the earlier chalumeau. Over time, additional keywork and airtight pads were added to improve the playability. In modern times, the most popular clarinet is the B♭ clarinet. However, the clarinet in A, just a semitone lower, is used in orchestral music. An orchestral clarinetist must own both a clarinet in A and B♭ since the repertoire is divided evenly between the two. Since the middle of the 19th century the bass clarinet has become an essential addition to the orchestra; the clarinet family ranges from the BBB♭ octo-contrabass to the A♭ piccolo clarinet. The clarinet has proved to be an exceptionally flexible instrument, used in the classical repertoire as in concert bands, military bands, marching bands, klezmer and other styles.
The word clarinet may have entered the English language via the French clarinette, or from Provençal clarin, "oboe". It would seem however that its real roots are to be found amongst some of the various names for trumpets used around the Renaissance and Baroque eras. Clarion and the Italian clarino are all derived from the medieval term claro which referred to an early form of trumpet; this is the origin of the Italian clarinetto, itself a diminutive of clarino, of the European equivalents such as clarinette in French or the German Klarinette. According to Johann Gottfried Walther, writing in 1732, the reason for the name is that "it sounded from far off not unlike a trumpet"; the English form clarinet is found as early as 1733, the now-archaic clarionet appears from 1784 until the early years of the 20th century. The cylindrical bore is responsible for the clarinet's distinctive timbre, which varies between its three main registers, known as the chalumeau and altissimo; the tone quality can vary with the clarinetist, instrument and reed.
The differences in instruments and geographical isolation of clarinetists led to the development from the last part of the 18th century onwards of several different schools of playing. The most prominent were French school; the latter was centered on the clarinetists of the Conservatoire de Paris. The proliferation of recorded music has made examples of different styles of playing available; the modern clarinetist has a diverse palette of "acceptable" tone qualities to choose from. The A and B ♭ clarinets use the same mouthpiece. Orchestral clarinetists using the A and B♭ instruments in a concert could use the same mouthpiece; the A and B♭ have nearly identical tonal quality, although the A has a warmer sound. The tone of the E♭ clarinet is brighter and can be heard through loud orchestral or concert band textures; the bass clarinet has a characteristically deep, mellow sound, while the alto clarinet is similar in tone to the bass. Clarinets have the largest pitch range of common woodwinds; the intricate key organization that makes this possible can make the playability of some passages awkward.
The bottom of the clarinet's written range is defined by the keywork on each instrument, standard keywork schemes allowing a low E on the common B♭ clarinet. The lowest concert pitch depends on the transposition of the instrument in question; the nominal highest note of the B♭ clarinet is a semitone higher than the highest note of the oboe. Since the clarinet has a wider range of notes, the lowest note of the B♭ clarinet is deeper than the lowest note of the oboe. Nearly all soprano and piccolo clarinets have keywork enabling them to play the E below middle C as their lowest written note, though some B♭ clarinets go down to E♭3 to enable them to match the range of the A clarinet. On the B♭ soprano clarinet, the concert pitch of the lowest note is D3, a whole tone lower than the written pitch. Most alto and bass clarinets have an extra key to allow a E♭3. Modern professional-quality bass clarinets have additional keywork to written C3. Among the less encountered members of t
Timpani or kettledrums are musical instruments in the percussion family. A type of drum categorised as a semispherical drum, they consist of a membrane called a head stretched over a large bowl traditionally made of copper. Most modern timpani are pedal timpani and can be tuned and to specific pitches by skilled players through the use of a movable foot-pedal, they are played by striking the head with a specialized drum stick called a timpani stick or timpani mallet. Timpani evolved from military drums to become a staple of the classical orchestra by the last third of the 18th century. Today, they are used in many types of ensembles, including concert bands, marching bands, in some rock bands. Timpani is an Italian plural, the singular of, timpano. However, in English the term timpano is only in use by practitioners: several are more referred to collectively as kettledrums, temple drums, timp-toms, or timps, they are often incorrectly termed timpanis. A musician who plays timpani is a timpanist.
First attested in English in the late 19th century, the Italian word timpani derives from the Latin tympanum, the latinisation of the Greek word τύμπανον, "a hand drum", which in turn derives from the verb τύπτω, meaning "to strike, to hit". Alternative spellings with y in place of either or both i's—tympani, tympany, or timpany—are encountered in older English texts. Although the word timpani has been adopted in the English language, some English speakers choose to use the word kettledrums; the German word for timpani is Pauken. The Ashanti pair of talking drums are known as atumpan; the tympanum is defined in the Etymologiae of St. Isidore of Seville: Tympanum est pellis vel corium ligno ex una parte extentum. Est enim pars media symphoniae in similitudinem cribri. Tympanum autem dictum quod medium est. Unde, et margaritum ipsum ut symphonia ad virgulam percutitur; the tympanum is hide stretched over a hollow wooden vessel which extends out. It is said by the symphonias to resemble a sieve, but has been likened to half a pearl.
It is struck with beating time for the symphonia. The reference comparing the tympanum to half a pearl is borrowed from Pliny the Elder; the basic timpano consists of a drum head stretched across the opening of a bowl made of copper or, in less expensive models, fiberglass or aluminum. In the Sachs–Hornbostel classification, this makes timpani membranophones; the head is affixed to a hoop. The counter hoop is held in place with a number of tuning screws called tension rods placed around the circumference; the head's tension can be adjusted by tightening the rods. Most timpani have six to eight tension rods; the shape and material of the bowl's surface help to determine the drum's timbre. For example, hemispheric bowls produce brighter tones. Modern timpani are made with copper due to its efficient regulation of internal and external temperatures relative to aluminum and fiberglass. Timpani come in a variety of sizes from about 33 inches in diameter down to piccoli timpani of 12 inches or less. A 33-inch drum can produce C2, specialty piccoli timpani can play up into the treble clef.
In Darius Milhaud's 1923 ballet score La création du monde, the timpanist must play F♯4. Each drum has a range of a perfect fifth, or seven semitones. Changing the pitch of a timpani by turning each tension rod individually is a laborious process. In the late 19th century, mechanical systems to change the tension of the entire head at once were developed. Any timpani equipped with such a system may be considered machine timpani, although this term refers to drums that use a handle connected to a spider-type tuning mechanism. By far the most common type of timpani used today are pedal timpani, which allows the tension of the head to be adjusted using a pedal mechanism; the pedal is connected to the tension screws via an assembly of either cast metal or metal rods called the spider. There are three types of pedal mechanisms in common use today: The ratchet clutch system uses a ratchet and pawl to hold the pedal in place; the timpanist must first disengage the clutch before using the pedal to tune the drum.
When the desired pitch is achieved, the timpanist must reengage the clutch. Because the ratchet engages in only a fixed set of positions, the timpanist must fine-tune the drum by means of a fine-tuning handle. In the balanced action system, a spring or hydraulic cylinder is used to balance the tension on the head so the pedal will stay in position and the head will stay at pitch; the pedal on a balanced action drum is sometimes called a floating pedal since there is no clutch holding it in place. The friction clutch or post and clutch system uses a clutch. Disengaging the clutch frees it from the post, allowing the pedal to move without restraint. Professional-level timpani have copper bowls; these drums can have one of two styles of pedals. The Dresden pedal is operated by ankle motion. A Berlin-style pedal is attached by means of a long arm to th
The bassoon is a woodwind instrument in the double reed family that plays music written in the bass and tenor clefs, the treble. Appearing in its modern form in the 19th century, the bassoon figures prominently in orchestral, concert band, chamber music literature, it is known for its distinctive tone colour, wide range, variety of character, agility. One who plays the bassoon is called a bassoonist; the word bassoon comes from Italian bassone. However, the Italian name for the same instrument is fagotto, in Spanish and Romanian it is fagot, in German fagott. Fagot is an Old French word meaning a bundle of sticks; the dulcian came to be known as fagotto in Italy. However, the usual etymology that equates fagotto with "bundle of sticks" is somewhat misleading, as the latter term did not come into general use until later; however an early English variation, "faget," was used as early as 1450 to refer to firewood, 100 years before the earliest recorded use of the dulcian. Further citation is needed to prove the lack of relation between the meaning "bundle of sticks" and "fagotto" or variants.
Some think it may resemble the Roman Fasces, a standard of bound sticks with an ax. A further discrepancy lies in the fact that the dulcian was carved out of a single block of wood—in other words, a single "stick" and not a bundle. B♭1–C5 The range of the bassoon begins at B♭1 and extends upward over three octaves to the G above the treble staff. Higher notes are possible but difficult to produce, called for: orchestral and concert band parts go higher than C5 or D5. Stravinsky's famously difficult opening solo in The Rite of Spring only ascends to D5. A1 is possible with a special extension to the instrument—see "Extended techniques" below; the bassoon is non-transposing. The bassoon disassembles into six main pieces, including the reed; the bell, extending upward. Bassoons are double reed instruments like the oboe; the bore of the bassoon is conical, like that of the oboe and the saxophone, the two adjoining bores of the boot joint are connected at the bottom of the instrument with a U-shaped metal connector.
Both bore and tone holes are precision-machined, each instrument is finished by hand for proper tuning. The walls of the bassoon are thicker at various points along the bore; this ensures coverage by the fingers of the average adult hand. Playing is facilitated by closing the distance between the spaced holes with a complex system of key work, which extends throughout nearly the entire length of the instrument; the overall height of the bassoon stretches to 1.34 m tall, but the total sounding length is 2.54 m considering that the tube is doubled back on itself. There are short-reach bassoons made for the benefit of young or petite players. A modern beginner's bassoon is made of maple, with medium-hardness types such as sycamore maple and sugar maple preferred. Less-expensive models are made of materials such as polypropylene and ebonite for student and outdoor use; the art of reed-making has been practiced for several hundred years, some of the earliest known reeds having been made for the dulcian, a predecessor of the bassoon.
Current methods of reed-making consist of a set of basic methods. Advanced players goes as far as making their own reeds to match their individual playing style. With regards to commercially made reeds, many companies and individuals offer pre-made reeds for sale, but players find that such reeds still require adjustments to suit their particular playing style. Modern bassoon reeds, made of Arundo donax cane, are made by the players themselves, although beginner bassoonists tend to buy their reeds from professional reed makers or use reeds made by their teachers. Reeds begin with a length of tube cane, split into three or four pieces using a tool called a cane splitter; the cane is trimmed and gouged to the desired thickness, leaving the bark attached. After soaking, the gouged cane is cut to the proper shape and milled to the desired thickness, or profiled, by removing material from the bark side; this can be done by hand with a file. After the profiled cane has soaked once again it is folded over in the middle.
Prior to soaking, the reed maker will have scored the bark with parallel lines with a knife. On the bark portion, the reed maker binds on one, two, or three coils or loops of brass wire to aid in the final forming process; the exact placement of these loops can vary somewhat depending on the reed maker. The bound reed blank is wrapped with thick cotton or linen thread to protect it, a conical steel mandrel is inserted in between the blades. Using a special pair o
The French horn is a brass instrument made of tubing wrapped into a coil with a flared bell. The double horn in F/B♭ is the horn most used by players in professional orchestras and bands. A musician who plays a French horn is known as hornist. Pitch is controlled through the combination of the following factors: speed of air through the instrument. Most horns have lever-operated rotary valves, but some older horns, use piston valves and the Vienna horn uses double-piston valves, or pumpenvalves; the backward-facing orientation of the bell relates to the perceived desirability to create a subdued sound in concert situations, in contrast to the more piercing quality of the trumpet. A horn without valves is known as a natural horn, changing pitch along the natural harmonics of the instrument. Pitch may be controlled by the position of the hand in the bell, in effect reducing the bell's diameter; the pitch of any note can be raised or lowered by adjusting the hand position in the bell. The key of a natural horn can be changed by adding different crooks of different lengths.
Three valves control the flow of air in the single horn, tuned to F or less B♭. The more common double horn has a fourth, trigger valve operated by the thumb, which routes the air to one set of tubing tuned to F or another tuned to B♭ which expands the horn range to over four octaves and blends with flutes or clarinets in a woodwind ensemble. Triple horns with five valves are made tuned in F, B♭, a descant E♭ or F. There are double horns with five valves tuned in B♭, descant E♭ or F, a stopping valve, which simplifies the complicated and difficult hand-stopping technique, though these are rarer. Common are descant doubles, which provide B♭ and alto F branches. A crucial element in playing the horn deals with the mouthpiece. Most of the time, the mouthpiece is placed in the exact center of the lips, because of differences in the formation of the lips and teeth of different players, some tend to play with the mouthpiece off center. Although the exact side-to-side placement of the mouthpiece varies for most horn players, the up-and-down placement of the mouthpiece is two-thirds on the upper lip and one-third on the lower lip.
When playing higher notes, the majority of players exert a small degree of additional pressure on the lips using the mouthpiece. However, this is undesirable from the perspective of both endurance and tone: excessive mouthpiece pressure makes the horn sound forced and harsh, decreases player's stamina due to the resulting constricted flow of blood to the lips and lip muscles; the name "French horn" is found only in first coming into use in the late 17th century. At that time, French makers were preeminent in the manufacture of hunting horns, were credited with creating the now-familiar, circular "hoop" shape of the instrument; as a result, these instruments were called in English, by their French names: trompe de chasse or cor de chasse. German makers first devised crooks to make such horns playable in different keys—so musicians came to use "French" and "German" to distinguish the simple hunting horn from the newer horn with crooks, which in England was called by the Italian name corno cromatico.
More "French horn" is used colloquially, though the adjective has been avoided when referring to the European orchestral horn since the German horn began replacing the French-style instrument in British orchestras around 1930. The International Horn Society has recommended since 1971 that the instrument be called the horn. There is a more specific use of "French horn" to describe a particular horn type, differentiated from the German horn and Vienna horn. In this sense, "French horn" refers to a narrow-bore instrument with three Périnet valves, it retains the narrow bell-throat and mouthpipe crooks of the orchestral hand horn of the late 18th century, most has an "ascending" third valve. This is a whole-tone valve arranged so that with the valve in the "up" position the valve loop is engaged, but when the valve is pressed the loop is cut out, raising the pitch by a whole tone; as the name indicates, humans used to blow on the actual horns of animals before starting to emulate them in metal. This original usage survives in the shofar, a ram's horn, which plays an important role in Jewish religious rituals.
Early metal horns were less complex than modern horns, consisting of brass tubes with a flared opening wound around a few times. These early "hunting" horns were played on a hunt while mounted, the sound they produced was called a recheat. Change of pitch was controlled by the lips. Without valves, only the notes within the harmonic series are available. By combining a long length with a narrow bore, the French horn's design allows the player to reach the higher overtones which differ by whole tones, thus making it capable of playing melodies before valves were invented. Early horns were pitched in B♭ alto, A, A♭, G, F, E, E♭, D, C, B♭ basso
The bass clarinet is a musical instrument of the clarinet family. Like the more common soprano B♭ clarinet, it is pitched in B♭, but it plays notes an octave below the soprano B♭ clarinet. Bass clarinets in other keys, notably C and A exist, but are rare. Bass clarinets perform in orchestras, wind ensembles/concert bands in marching bands, play an occasional solo role in contemporary music and jazz in particular. Someone who plays a bass clarinet is called a bass clarinetist. Most modern bass clarinets are straight-bodied, with a small upturned silver-colored metal bell and curved metal neck. Early examples varied in some having a doubled body making them look similar to bassoons; the bass clarinet is heavy and is supported either with a neck strap or an adjustable peg attached to its body. While Adolphe Sax imitated its upturned metal bell in his design of the larger saxophones, the two instruments are fundamentally different. Bass clarinet bodies are most made of grenadilla or plastic resin, while saxophones are made of metal.
More all clarinets have a bore, the same diameter along the body. This cylindrical bore differs from the saxophone's conical one and gives the clarinet its characteristic tone, causing it to overblow at the twelfth compared with the saxophone's octave. A majority of modern bass clarinets, like other clarinets in the family, have the Boehm system of keys and fingering. However, bass clarinets are manufactured in Germany with the Oehler system of keywork, most known as the'German" system in the US, because it is used in Germany and Austria, as well as Eastern Europe and Turkey. Most modern Boehm system bass clarinets have an "extension" key allowing them to play to the E♭; this key was added to allow easy transposition of parts for the rare bass clarinet pitched in A, but it now finds significant use in concert band and other literature. A significant difference between soprano and bass clarinet key work is a key pad played by the left-hand index finger with a vent that may be uncovered for certain high notes.
This allows a form of "half-hole" fingering that allows notes in higher registers to be played on the instrument. In addition, older bass clarinets have two register keys, one for middle D♯ and below, the other for middle E and higher. Newer models only have one, mechanically performing the role of two separate register keys. Many professional and advanced bass clarinetists own instruments with extensions down to a C (sounding B♭ identical to the bassoon's lowest B♭, two octaves below written middle C. At concert pitch this note is the B♭ below the second ledger line below the bass staff or B♭1 in scientific pitch notation. Overall, the instrument sounds an octave lower than the B♭ soprano clarinet; as with all wind instruments, the upper limit of the range depends on the quality of the instrument and skill of the clarinetist. According to Aber and Lerstad, who give fingerings up to written C7, the highest note encountered in modern solo literature is the E below that; this gives the bass clarinet a usable range of up to four octaves, quite close to the range of the bassoon.
The bass clarinet has been used in scoring for orchestra and concert band since the mid-19th century, becoming more common during the middle and latter part of the 20th century. A bass clarinet is not always called for in orchestra music, but is always called for in concert band music. In recent years, the bass clarinet has seen a growing repertoire of solo literature including compositions for the instrument alone, or accompanied by piano, orchestra, or other ensemble, it is used in clarinet choirs, marching bands, in film scoring, has played a minor, but persistent, role in jazz. The bass clarinet has an appealing, earthy tone quite distinct from other instruments in its range, drawing on and enhancing the qualities of the lower range of the soprano and alto instrument; the earliest solo passages for bass clarinet—indeed, among the earliest parts for the instrument—occur in Mercadante's 1834 opera Emma d'Antiochia, in which a lengthy solo introduces Emma's scene in Act 2. Two years Giacomo Meyerbeer wrote an important solo for bass clarinet in Act 4 of his opera Les Huguenots.
French composer Hector Berlioz was one of the first of the Romantics to use the bass clarinet in his large-scale works such as the Grande symphonie funèbre et triomphale, Op. 15, the Te Deum, Op. 22, the opera Les Troyens, Op. 29. French composers to use the instrument included Maurice Ravel, who wrote virtuosic parts for the bass clarinet in his ballet Daphnis et Chloé, La valse, his orchestration of Modest Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition; the operas of Richard Wagner make extensive use of the bass clarinet, beginning with Tannhäuser. He incorporated the instrument into the wind section as both a solo and supporting instrument. Wagner pioneered in exploiting the instrument's dark, somber tone to
The güiro is a Latin American percussion instrument consisting of an open-ended, hollow gourd with parallel notches cut in one side. It is played by rubbing a stick or tines along the notches to produce a ratchet sound; the güiro is used in Puerto Rican and other forms of Latin American music, plays a key role in the typical rhythm section of important genres like son and salsa. Playing the güiro requires both long and short sounds, made by scraping up and down in long or short strokes; the güiro, like the maracas, is played by a singer. It is related to the Cuban guayo and the Dominican güira, which are made of metal. Other instruments similar to the güiro are the Colombian guacharaca, the Brazilian reco-reco, the quijada and the frottoir. In the Arawakan language, a language of the indigenous people of Latin America and spread throughout the Caribbean spoken by groups such as the Taíno, güiro referred to fruit of the güira and an instrument made from fruit of the güira; the güiro is a hollowed-out gourd.
The calabash gourd is used. The güiro is made by carving parallel circular stripes along the shorter section of the elongated gourd. Today, many güiros are made of wood or fiberglass; the güiro was adapted from an instrument which might have originated in either South America or Africa. The Aztecs produced an early cousin to the güiro, called the omitzicahuastli, created from a small bone with serrated notches and was played in the same manner as the güiro; the Taíno people of the Caribbean have been credited with the origins of the güiro. The Taínos of Puerto Rico developed the güajey, a long gourd or animal bones with notches, was an antecedent of the modern day güiro; the güiro is believed to have origins in Africa and brought over to Latin American and the Caribbean by African slaves. Across Latin American and the Caribbean, the güiro can be found in a variety of traditional, folk dance music and used in dance ensembles and religious festivals. In the Yucatan Peninsula, the güiro is used in the mayapax and the jarana.
In Cuba, the güiro is used in the genre danzón. In Puerto Rico, the güiro associated with the music of the jíbaro and is used in the musical genres of the plena, the seis, the danza. In the Caribbean coast, the güiro was used in traditional, folk dance cumbia music and is still used in modern cumbia music. In Panama, the güiro can be found in folk dances such as cumbia; the güiro is used in classical music both to add Latin American flavor, purely for its instrumental qualities. Examples of compositions including a güiro are Uirapuru by Heitor Villa-Lobos, Latin-American Symphonette by Morton Gould and The Rite of Spring by Stravinsky. Güira Guayo Guacharaca Reco-reco Scratcher Latin American music Picture and description of a güiro made by the Taínos Video demonstrating how to play the güiro by Bobby Sanabria affiliated with Jazz at Lincoln Center