Cuban Instruments

Los tambores batá son los instrumentos sagrados de la Santería cubana. Son tres tambores con forma de reloj de arena, de diferentes tamaños y funciones musicales. Su principal función religiosa es la de establecer una vía de comunicación entre los creyentes de la Santería y los dioses u orishas a quienes veneran. Los tambores batá originales son africanos y están vinculados al culto a los Orishas profesado por los yoruba, que habitan aún hoy en el actual territorio de Nigeria. Estos tambores también se utilizan en la música del Candomblé en Brasil. Sin embargo, aquí nos referiremos solo a su tipología cubana.
The batá drums are the sacred instruments of Cuban Santería. They are made up of three hourglass-shaped drums of different sizes that perform specific musical functions. Their main religious function is that of establishing a medium between the believers of Santería and the God, or Orishas, that they beckon. The batá drums are of African (currently the territory of Nigeria) origin. Additionally, these drums are connected to the worship of the Orishas professed by the Yoruba that still inhabit that land today.
Este instrumento musical cubano nace en el contexto del complejo de géneros musicales pertenecientes al son, en las zonas montañosas del extremo oriental de Cuba. Consiste de dos tambores de pequeños y diferentes tamaños, unidos por una correa o una pieza, generalmente de madera o metal, que les da cierta separación entre sus cuerpos o cajas de resonancia. Cada tambor posee una sola membrana o parche y cada una de estas se afina a una altura sonora diferente. El sistema actual de tensión de las membranas consiste de aros, tornillos con forma de gancho y tuercas, todos ellos metálicos. Los tambores se tocan en juego y nunca por separado.
This Cuban musical instrument was born in the context of the complex musical styles that pertain to the Son, in the mountainous regions of the eastern extreme of the country. It consists of two small drums, of different sizes, held together by a strap or a piece of wood or metal that provides separation among their bodies or sound boxes. Each drum possesses a single membrane, or skin, and each one of these skins is tuned to a different pitch. The current system of tension (for tuning the skins) consists of metal rings and screws that form the shapes of hook and nuts. The drums are played together, never separate.
The claves are a musical instrument of Cuban origin and are classified as a member of percussion family. The instrument is comprised of two separate wooden sticks that are cylindrical in shape. To play the instrument simply strike one stick against the other. The most reliable source of information on the origin of the claves is attributed to Fernando Ortiz and his work, “La clave xilofónica de la música cubana” (”The Xylophone-style Clave of Cuban Music,” which identifies the origin of the claves to the docks where ships were repaired and constructed in Havana during the 16th and 17th centuries.
The Cuban laud is a 12 string instrument originally from the Arabic ood, although it is much changed since then and bears little resemblance today. The main use of the instrument historically was playing punto guajiro music which was traditionally played in the Western provinces and usually in 3/4 or 6/8 time.