The txalaparta, a giant Basque xylophone for two players

First article of this blog, I had to talk about the video that gives a boost to the Rare And Strange Instruments facebook page, the txalaparta by Hutsun band, a video I shot in the streets of Avignon, France, wich gets 1 000 000 views in one week.

The txalaparta (pronounce “tcha”) is a percussive idiophone, it is a xylophone with no resonators whose bars are struck with large sticks. The instrument is played by a couple of musicians, their rythmic patterns respond to each other to make a continuous and virtuoso music.

It may be composed of one or several bars with different lengths, in the second part of the video Anai and Mikel use in addition to the bars a heap of thin boards to make a dry sound.

Bars are laid on simple trestles with foam (or more natural elements) to allow the bars to vibrate. The instrument almost disappear in the 1950s when only a few farmers was still playing it. It was saved by a few people wich made the instrument and its music evolve.

The playing of txalaparta is based on a duel between the first player who keeps the rhythm and the second player who breaks it, but those roles with the evolution of the instrument can be exchanged and mixed.

Txalaparta players allow themselves to change the base material, one of the specialties of txalapartariak from Oreka TX!

Stone txalaparta

Ice txalaparta

I didn’t found any steel, glass or bronze txalaparta, tell me if you meet or play one, and do not hesitate to add infos or links in the comments!

To end this article, an extract of Madonna’s 2012 Live Tour with a txalaparta on stage, why not?

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About Nicolas Bras 16 Articles
Homemade Instrument maker, rare and strange instrument seeker / Bricoleur d'instruments, chercheur d'instruments rares


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