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Music Term: Jawbone

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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 1-9


Definition and background:

Idiophone, Shaken idiophone, Rattle idiophone, Percussion instrument; The jawbone has been used as an instrument for several centuries in many cultures. This instrument was originally created from the jaw of a horse, mule, or donkey. When the bone was removed from the skull, cleaned and thoroughly dried, the teeth become loose and when shook or struck, produced a loud rattling sound. This instrument continues to be popular in Latin American music and will often be adorned with small bells to add a different character to the sound. It was also used as a type of tambourine in the minstrel shows of the late 19th century in the United States. The vibra-slap is the modern version of the jawbone and retains a similar sound, but is much sturdier and is not easily broken. The jawbone is an actual animal jaw, so the physical description would match the animal that was used to create the jawbone. The sound is produced by the teeth rattling in the jaw. The jawbone will often be adorned with small bells to add a different character to the sound. Since the jawbone is an untuned percussion instrument, it has no range. Also [Eng.] jawbone; [Fr.] quyada; [Ger.] Schlagrassel; [It.] mascella; [Sp.] guyada or [Sp.] quijada.

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