Jawbone (instrument)

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Quijada: a jawbone used as a musical instrument
Percussion instrument
Other names Quijada de Burro, Charrasga, Jawbone
Classification idiophone
Hornbostel–Sachs classification 112.211
(indirectly struck idiophone; scraped sticks without a resonator)
Related instruments
Güiro, güira, reco-reco

The quijada [charrasga, or jawbone in English] is a traditional Latin percussion instrument traditionally made from the jawbone of either a mule, horse, or donkey.[1] The jawbone is cleaned of tissue and dried so the teeth can loosen and act as a rattle. To play, a musician holds one half in one hand and strikes the other with either a stick or their hand; this causes the teeth to rattle against the bone creating a loud, untuned sound, original to this instrument.[2] It is used in music throughout most of Latin America, including Mexico, Peru, El Salvador, Ecuador, and Cuba.[2]

Historical and cultural content[edit]

While it is used in most Latin American countries, the quijada gets its origin from the Africans that were brought to the Americas during the colonial era.[2] It is also believed that it was first introduced in Peru, making it an Afro-Peruvian instrument.[3] It is used in traditional and contemporary Latin music; an example is a song being played in Oaxaca, Mexico, using the Quijada to keep the beat for the "cancion". The quijada de burro is most commonly used at carnivals and religious festivals.[4] This instrument is one example of a mix of two different cultures, African and Indigenous, that created an instrument that gained value for the people of Latin America.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Jawbone". Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary. Retrieved 2013-09-15. 
  2. ^ a b c Scruggs, TM (2007). "El Salvador". Grove Music Online. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2013-09-15. 
  3. ^ Ma, Eve. "A Guide To Afro-Peruvian Musical Instruments". Sounds and Colours. Retrieved 2013-09-16. 
  4. ^ "Quijada de Burro". Retrieved 23 September 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]