Gralla (instrument)

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Gralla ginjoler josep bonamusa.jpg
A gralla with a detached reed
Woodwind instrument
Other names Grall de pastor, xaramita, xirimita
Hornbostel–Sachs classification 422.12
(Double-reeded aerophone with conical tube.)
Related instruments

The gralla (Catalan pronunciation: [ˈɡɾaʎə]), also known as grall de pastor, xaramita o xirimita, is a traditional Catalan double reed instrument in the oboe family. Like the dolçaina from Valencia - a very similar instrument which many experts consider a variety of the gralla - the gralla comes from the ancient xeremies a medieval instrument largely used until the Baroque. Probably, the name of the instrument comes from its strident sound similar to the sound of a native bird of Catalonia and the north of Spain called gralla too.

The gralla is also very popular because it is the traditional instrument used during the ascencion and descencion of human towers or castells and other traditional festivities. Usually its played with the tabal, a percussion instrument similar to a drum.

The gralla player is called graller o grallaire

A gralla player or grallaire.


  • La gralla seca ("dry gralla"): the most simple type without any metallic keys and produces a more hard or strident sound. Its also the more typical type.
  • La gralla dolça ("sweet gralla"): longer than the others, can have from one to many metalical keys that are used to produce lower and higher notes that the gralla seca can't produce and have also a less strident and more "sweeter" sound.


Closeup of the reeds used in gralles
  • Cap: in the top of the instrument is where the tudell is inserted with the canya.
  • Tub: the part between the tudell and the canya or inxa.
  • Tudell: a conic tube made of metal where the canya is inserted.
  • Canya o inxa: Formed by two identical reeds made of wood but independent, tied together by a wire.
  • Cos: the central part of the instrument. A conical wood tube with six gaps in the front side and one in the back.
  • Campana: the final part that act like an amplifier of the sound and has two gaps in the sides. Its usually covered with metal.

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