Güira

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Güira
Guira from Dominican Repub.jpg
A small güira, with handle, obtained in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, in 2007
Percussion instrument
Classification percussion
Hornbostel–Sachs classification
(scraped idiophone)

A güira (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈɡwiɾa]) is a percussion instrument originating in the Dominican Republic, generally used in merengue, bachata, and its subgenres, which in use is similar to the maraca or the trap-kit’s hi-hat but formed of sheet metal—in practice, sometimes from a five gallon oil can played with a stiff brush, similar to the Puerto Rican güiro. Performers on the güira are referred to as "Güireros".

Usage[edit]

The güira is most often found in merengue tipico where it serves as one of many percussion instruments used. The güira is brushed steadily on the downbeat with a "and-a" thrown in at certain points, or played in more complex patterns that generally mark the time. Modern cumbia also sometimes features a güira. Typical rhythmic patterns include the golpe. Dances featuring the music range from the fast-paced Merengue derecho to the slower merengue apambichao.

Güira Making[edit]

According to Francisco Javier Durán García, New York City based instrument maker, the traditional art of güira making involves a tree stump, hammer, nail, metal tube, and wood block.[1] The instrument is hand fashioned from sheet metal into a long, cylindrical tube along with perforated sides.

Brief sample of güira

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Güira vs Güiro[edit]

The Dominican güira is similar in usage to the Puerto Rican güiro though of distinct timbre. Whereas the guiro is often a hollowed out gourd, thus producing a more wooden tone, the metal construction of the güira gives it a characteristic metallic timbre.

Cultural Significance[edit]

The güira as part of the Merengue Típico is emblematic of Dominican heritage. When Rafael Trujillo came to power in 1930 he made the music the national emblem.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Hutchinson, Sydney. "Pinto Guirá and his Magic Bullet". Pinto Guirá and his Magic Bullet. New York Folk Lore Society. Retrieved 17 September 2013.