Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Claves is a percussion instrument, consisting of a pair of short, thick wooden dowels. When struck they produce a bright clicking noise. Claves are sometimes hollow and carved in the middle to amplify the sound. Claves are often used to beat out clave rhythm, hence the name of the rhythm.
Steve Reich's Music for Pieces of Wood is written for five pairs of claves.
The basic principle when playing claves is to allow at least one of them to resonate. The usual technique is to hold one horizontally by cupping it in the hand, touching the clave only at either end using fingers to stabilise it. It is then struck at its centre with the other clave.
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