Name: Txalaparta.
Type: Idiophones > Percussion > Plaques.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 111.222
Country: Basque, Spain & France.
Region: Iberian Peninsula & Western Europe.

Description: The txalaparta [in Basque: txalaparta pronunciation: tʃaˈlapaɾta or tʃalaˈpaɾta] is a specialized Basque music device of wood or stone. In some regions of the Basque Country, zalaparta with [s̻] means “racket”, while in others (in Navarre) txalaparta has been attested as meaning the trot of the horse, a sense closely related to the sound of the instrument.

History: During the last 150 years, the txalaparta has been attested as a communication device used for funeral [hileta] celebration [jai] or the making of slaked lime [kare] or cider [sagardo]. After the making of cider, the same board that pressed the apples was beaten to summon the neighbours. Then, a celebration was held and txalaparta played cheerfully, while cider was drunk. Evidence gathered in this cider making context reveals that sound emitting ox horns were sometimes blown alongside txalaparta.

Actually, cider and cider houses are the only traditional context for the txalaparta we have got to know first-hand. The same background applies to a related Basque percussion instrument, the kirikoketa, a recreation of the pounding used to grind down the apples. Another instrument classified in the same family and geographical area is the toberak.

The origins of the Txalaparta remain shrouded in mystery. It is worth mentioning that the very similar Romanian toacă or Greek semantron is used as a call for prayer, so less epic interpretations link txalaparta with a common Christian practice before the schism between the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. Bells were not used in Christian churches before the 10th century.

Citations: Bibliography: Websites: Eskonews.Eus [Txalaparta article]

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