Maracas: one of the fundamental instruments in Mexican music

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Maracas have a rich history in Latin America and are a staple of Latin music. While this Latin percussion instrument may seem simple to play, mastering the maracas takes practice and coordination.

Mexican music styles have adopted the Maracas as one of their fundamental instruments.

Maracas, also known as rumba shakers, is a hand percussion instrument usually played in pairs and common in Caribbean, Latin American, and South American music. Maracas are a rattle instrument traditionally made of dried calabash gourds or turtle shells filled with beans, beads, or pebbles. Today maracas are made out of many different materials—you can find wood maracas, fiber maracas, rawhide maracas, and plastic maracas.

Maracas belong to the idiophone group, which consists of musical instruments that create sound by vibration without using strings, air, or membranes. Unlike idiophones that produce sound when struck (such as castanets, cymbals, and xylophones), maracas belong to a subcategory of shaken idiophones.

Rattles similar to maracas have existed for millennia in Africa, the Pacific Islands, and the Americas. The Araucanian people, who live in what is now central Chile, may have been the first to use the word maraca to describe a gourd rattle around 500 BC. Some historians, though, attribute the word’s origins to the Tupi people in pre-colonial Brazil. There are also ancient records of maracas in West Africa, where a Guinean legend describes a goddess who made a maraca out of a gourd and white pebbles.

Maracas produce different sounds depending on the outer material, inner fillings, and size, and they’re common in many musical genres.

Source: Hispanoteca

Mexico Daily Post