Name: Gralla.
Type: Aerophones > Reeds > Shawms.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 422.112
Country: Spain.
Region: Iberian Peninsula & Western Europe.

Description: The gralla [Catalan pronunciation: in IPA: ˈɡɾaʎə], also known as grall de pastor, xaramita o xirimita, is a traditional Catalan double reed instrument in the shawm family. Like the dolçaina from Valencia – a very similar instrument that many experts consider a variety of the gralla.

The gralla comes from the ancient xeremia 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 Jackdaw native to Catalonia and northern Spain and also called ‘Gralla’ in Catalan.

Varieties: La gralla seca (“dry gralla”): the most simple type without any metallic keys and produces a more hard or strident sound. It is also the more typical type. La gralla dolça (“sweet gralla”): longer than the others, can have from one to many metallic 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.

Construction: Cap: in the top of the instrument is where the tudell is inserted with the caña. Tub: the part between the tudell and the caña or inxa. Tudell: a conic tube made of metal where the caña is inserted. Caña 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. It is usually covered with metal.


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