Maraca ???

... post here historical info of any other musical instrument non specified in the above forum (suggest here to open a new forum!)..

Re: Maraca ???

Postby Anonimo » Thu Aug 11, 2011 7:00 pm


Re: Maraca ???

Postby Chupacabra » Fri Aug 12, 2011 1:30 am

Back in I guess around 2004-ish I went to this really nice place out on Vancouver Island, BC, near the town of Duncan. There is a guy I met through drumming who happens to make drums of different types and also various percussion instruments. He put on a rattle and shaker-making workshop that cost like about $15 at the time. Just enough to cover his costs and time. There were about 7 other people there, so I guess it was well worth it because the materials were mostly left-overs from his drum making.

Anyway he showed me how to make what I guess would be a prototypical maraca out of animal hide, some pebbles, catgut and strips of wood. It's a little bit labour intensive but that was probably because I was using a thick piece of elk hide and it was a real bugger to stitch and then stretch it... NOT recommended for maraca! The stitch is easy - he called it a blanket stitch. And you just sew up the seams nice and tight with the catgut then turn it inside out and start packing and pounding it with sand until it starts to stretch so much that you can almost see the stitch start to separate and then ideally you should let it dry for a couple of days before you take the sand out. We couldn't do it quite like that at the workshop, obviously. You also have to put your handle in the globe while it dries and mark the exact location and depth you inserted it and then wrap the neck tightly with string while you let it dry. Then when you are ready to seal it up for good you put the handle in exactly as it was. It didn't turn out all that great. It has a dry, gravelly sound and isn't very melodic sounding. Not very well balanced either.

So now here I am in the present and this afternoon I'm going through some old stuff that I'm going to get rid of and I came across this roll of raw water buffalo hide (you know the kind I mean) that was given to me by someone who thought I could make good use of it. It's a decent hide but its the same shite that mass makers put on their drums so I never used it. It's also the same type of hide that LP uses for their maracas as well, which actually can sound pretty good... sometimes. I realize that no two will ever sound alike but they should at least sound similar.

The time has come for me to start another project, and it will be to make a matched set of maracas out of this rawhide and some left over strips of hardwood that I have. Now what I would like to ask is if anyone has any suggestions as to what I should use for for the "pebbles" (what do you call the stuff that make the shika-shika sound?) in a rawhide bulb for these maracas. Does anyone know what LP uses for theirs? Does anyone have any experience they would like to share with me in making rawhide maracas? More info would be welcome! Oh, and most important... would anyone happen to have a cutting pattern to make a nice round bulb? THAT would save a lot of fiddling around!

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Re: Maraca ???

Postby Anonimo » Fri Aug 12, 2011 4:41 am


Re: Maraca ???

Postby Marcus » Fri Aug 12, 2011 4:05 pm

Thanks Leedy for the history of the Tainos.

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Re: Maraca ???

Postby shor » Sat Nov 03, 2012 7:45 pm

Thomas Altmann wrote:So if I made both ends meet, I would conclude that the Taino Indians brought the maracas from Venezuela to the Caribbean. It might be hard to trace the origin even farther back, as these guys didn't write any ethnohistorical books for us.


There are also ancient mexican paintings with illustrated maracas, and archaelogical stone maracas.
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