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buber.net > Basque > Music > Discussion on the Txalaparta
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Discussion on the Txalaparta

The following are some excerpts taken from a discussion on Basque-L about the txalaparta.

The txalaparta is an instument made up of one or more thick wooden boards that is played by two people. The players, called TXALAPARTARIAK, use short wooden sticks about 10 inches long and an inch and a half in diameter to hit the boards following a set of rules for rythym. Each txalapartari has his or her own space of time that can't be invaded by the other txalapartari. This space of time can become longer or shorter during a session of playing and this respect for the other player's space is what keeps the rythym from breaking down.

The basic "hits" or KOLPEAK that can be used are:

    The "TXAKUN" (The most basic) 2 "hits" close together.
    The "HERENA" one hit within the space of 2.
    The "HUTSUNEA" or "blank" when a player does not hit during their space.
    The "HIRU KOLPEKO TXAKUNA" 3 within the space of 2 and so on....

Some players write down their music and create rythyms on paper while others play more spontaneously. Most players work impromptu embellishinh upon the other player's rythym,

Historically it is belived that the TXALAPARTA was used as a means of communication between remote baserris. There would have been a special rythym used to signal that cider was ready, or that a death had occurred, for example. Today, though, it is used more as a musical instrument.

There is a CD available in the US that has some TXALAPARTA music from a company called NARADA. The CD's name is "LEZAO" and it mixes traditional Basque music with New age music. If you can't get ahold of anything else, this could give you an idea of what it sounds like.

Hope this information is of some help.

Gero arte! KRISTOBAL Upchurch

The real name of the instrument is Txalaparta I have some texts that will help you to get an aproximately idea of what it is:

"TXALAPARTA is a primitive Basque rythm. Three decades ago the tradition was recuperated by some elderly people in various cider bars in the province of Gipuzkoa. The origines of the sound are taken from the noise of horses hooves at a gallop chacu-chacun.Actually the rythm communication can be understood between two people. the original and basic rhythm chacun chacun has, and continues to, evolve towards modern and inovative rhythmic forms, The antique instrument consisted of a large thic plank resting on two baskets and leaves of sweet corn. Today Txalaparta can be of many materials (wood stone metal) Gerla Beti (perdi and Ruben) are Txalapartaris who work in the continuing search and evolution of the instrument and rythms, as well as for the recognition of the txalaparta in other countries and continents"

This is a text published with the C.D.:

    "Tomas San Miguel con Txalaparta" "Lezao"


Juan Etxenike

Here I am again Pete with more stuff on Txalaparta.

"Two boards placed horizontally, insulated from the ground, produce a two-part chant, a broken chant dominated by a descant. Ours it is not the tom-tom of culturally primitive people, it is a TTakun-TTakun.

One of the voices describes a space similar to a river while the other pushes it, move it out of position, get in its way, divert i and puts the finishing touches on it.

On the txalaparta the left hand sings while the right hand works for its freedom and returns it to nature.

Jorge Oteiza 'quosque tandem'"

This text appears with the disk "Egurraren orpotik dator..." (which I think means :Comes from the inside of the wood) by Joxan Goikoetxea and Juan Mari Beltran.

Joxan Goikoetxea is an accordion player(playing now in Zaldibobo as collaborating with the spanish singer Javier Alvarez from Donosti (I think) he is used to play some kind of experimental music and after his first C.D. he played this one about basque music. In this album Joseba Tapia (from Tapia eta Leturia band) played also the trikitrixa.

Juan Mari Beltran is a kind of Luthier of basque instruments and a very good player of Txalaparta.

Tomas San Miguel is also accordionist (and very good) he is from Araba and used to play Jazz. In his album the trikitrilari is Kepa Junkera (from Oskorri).

Well I'm sure that other members on the list will report you much more information. In some days I'll give to you the telephone number of a house producer of basque music so they will be able to send you information.

Agur Londresetik

Juan Etxenike

You mean 'Txalaparta'. The Txalaparta is a Basque percussion musical instrument composed by two or three timbers placed over two large round baskets sometimes covered with some blankets to let the timbers sound properly. It's usually played by two people, each one handing two stick-alike wooden pieces, by hitting the timbers vertically (never ever, horizontally) following an increasing rhythm and getting nice musical notes.

As I can tell you, it was recovered a few decades ago from the zone near Astigarraga, Lesaka ... near the borderline between Gipuzkoa and Nafarroa. It was then used to announce the season when sagardoa (cider) was ready to be drunk, on opening the kupelak, a wonderful way to invite other neighbours to taste the new-done sagardoa.

As well as many other customs in Euskal Herria, this one has been spread all over the Basque Country and now, if you attend any real Basque festa in Bilbo, Donostia, any little town in Gipuzkoa ..., that's to say, a romeria, I'm sure you'll listen to it accompanied by that wonderful and trikitixa :)

Hope, it'll be useful to you. If anybody gets more info about it, I would love to be corrected as I seldom have played one and I wouldn't be the proper one to assure that the way it is. As we say in Basque, 'gaizki esanak barkatu eta ondo esanak gogoratu' (forgive me the uncorrect things I've said to you, but instead, remember the correct ones I've told you).

Untsa izan,

Jonmikel Insausti

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