List of Caribbean idiophones

This is a list of idiophones used in the Caribbean music area, used in the Caribbean music area, including the islands of the Caribbean Sea, as well as the musics of Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Belize, Garifuna music, and Bermuda.

Instrument Tradition Complete classification Description
agogó See agogoró' -
Cuba 111.221 Hoe blade, struck with a nail or other heavy object
Cuba 111.242.222 Belt with many attached bells
baksor, asson can also refer to the ogan in Northern Haiti
Haiti 1 Hollow calabash with a hole, which the player plugs during performance, where the stem used to be, covered in beaded webbing
Haiti 1 Wooden board, sometimes attached to a tymbale
arwé-koesolé See bakosó' -
assongwé [1]
Cuba 112.13 Rattle made of tin, with both ends conical and an attached handle, used by Arara priests
Cuba 112.12 Oblong rattle made from a gourd, and covered with a network of webbing laced with nuts or beads
Cuba 112.12 Large rattle made from a calabash, and covered with a network of webbing laced with nuts or beads
baksor See asson -
ekón, ekóng
Cuba 111.242.121 Metal bell, struck with a wooden stick, location of the strike determines pitch
base-bum See steelpan -
base-kettle See steelpan -
Trinidad and Tobago 1 Hand bell, used in the Spiritual Baptist musical tradition
bell, Lucumí[1]
Cuba 111.242.121 Bell with an external striker
belly See steelpan -
Trinidad and Tobago 1 Ordinary sitting bench, used spontaneously by banging against the ground in the Spiritual Baptist musical tradition
bois bourrique See vaccine -
chac-chac, shack-shack, xaque-xaque (Brazil), chacha (Cuba)
Trinidad and Tobago 1 Hollow calabash with a hole, which the player plugs during performance, where the stem used to be, covered in beaded webbing, used in the Shango cult
cajon [1]
Cuba and Puerto Rico 111.2 Wooden box played as a bass drum, with hands held in front of the face, often while sitting on the instrument while playing
Haiti 1 Two types of beating tubes: a length of bamboo laid upon two y-shaped sticks in the ground, and a hollow wooden cylinder; both are beaten with sticks
Cuba 1 Hollowed out trunk hit with two sticks, used in yuka, term also used for a rumba rhythm
gangária, San Martin (for secular uses only)
Cuba ? Large cowbell with no clapper, struck on the outside, used in many kinds of Cuban folk and popular music
chac-chac See shak-shak -
chacha See shak-shak -
Cuba 1 Hollow calabash with a hole, which the player plugs during performance, where the stem used to be, covered in beaded webbing
Cuba and Haiti 111.1 Cylindrical percussive sticks of African origin, made from hardwood trees like acana, quiebrahacha, guayaca¡n, and granadillo
dentlé See dentli -
Haiti 112.211 Notched stick played with a bamboo scraping blade
Indo-Caribbean Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Suriname 1 Steel rod, adapted from a piece of a yoke and hit with a beater in a horseshoe-shape, used in chutney
door [1]
Cuba 111.221 Normal door, beaten with a hand, integral component of the Yambú dance
double-conical rattle[1]
Cuba 112.13 Double-conical rattle, made of tin and held horizontally, known in Jovellanos
ekón See banká -
ekóng See banká -
ericúnde See erikúnde -
Cuba 112.13 Tubular rattle with a looping basket-shaped handle, filled with chunks of wood
gangária See cencerro -
geared rattle[3]
Haiti 1 Rattle, used in Rara ceremonies
Haiti 112.23 Metal scraper with small, closely spaced holes, played with a piece of wire or nail
grind organ [1]
Cuba 1 Integral component of the Yambú dance
güira [8]
Dominican Republic 1 Sheet of metal shaped into a tube, used in bachata and merengue
güira See güiro -
Cuba NA Generic term for any instrument made from a gourd, especially a scraper
Cuba 112.12 Oblong rattle made from pieces of tin, and covered with a network of webbing laced with nuts or beads, known in Matanzas Province
güayo [6]
Puerto Rico 1 Used in bomba and plena
Cuba 112.13 Set of four rattles attached to a pair of crossed sticks
Surinamese Maroons 111.1 Pieces of any available metal struck together
iron tube, Lucumí[1]
Cuba 111.242.121 Hollow iron tube with a slit along the side, played with an external striker
Cuba ? cowbell, played using a striker
Trinidad and Tobago ? Pair of large cymbals
tcha-tcha, tcha-kwa
Haiti 112.13 Empty gourd filled with seeds; can also refer to the geared rattle
Surinamese Maroons 1 Bench with a wooden top, played with two sticks, from a squatting position
malimba See marimba -
manimba See marimba -
manimbula See marimba -
maraca [1][2]
shakkas (Garifuna) marúga (Matanzas Province only)
Cuba, Garifuna music, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and elsewhere 112.13 Rattle found in Jamaica and across the Greater Antilles and Central America, made from a hollow gourd, often a calabash, and filled with dried seeds
marimba See marimbula -
malimba, manimba, manimbula
Haiti 111.2 Box mounted with strips that can be plucked
marimba (Dominican Republic only)
Cuba, introduced to the Dominican Republic and elsewhere 111.2 Box mounted with metal strips that can be plucked, used as a bass instrument in rural folk genres like son
marúga See maraca -
Puerto Rico 111.231 Slit drum made of thin wood, shaped like an elongated gourd, originally of Taino origin
mayahuacan See mayohavau -
oga See ogan (Cuba) -
Cuba 111.242.121 Iron bell, held upside down and struck with a beater, used among the Arara
ogan, double[1]
Cuba 111.242.221 Pair of ogan, used in mourning music among the Arara
Haiti 111.1 Pieces of chain or other metal struck together
quijara de burro[1]
Cuba 112.122 Jawbone of a burro, teeth acting as rattles
Cuba 111.2 Box with two sloping sides, tapped with the fingers percussively
Surinamese Maroons 112.13 Rattle used in both secular and religious purposes, with a specific rhythm for the spirit associated with each ritual
rattle-bracelet [1]
Cuba 112.112 Bracelets with attached nuts and seeds, worn by drummers in the Kimbisa tradition
rumba box[11]
Jamaica 2 Maroon instrument used to accompany social dancing, wooden box with three metal brackets on one side
San Martin See cencerro -
shack-shack See shak-shak -
chac-chac, shack-shack, xaque-xaque (Brazil), chacha (Cuba)
Lesser Antilles 1 Rattle, made from a dried gourd, often a calabash, and filled with dried seeds, with a handle attached where the calabash stem formerly was, not normally decorated or painted, may be placed in a pair
Saint Lucia and other Francophone islands 1 Rattle, made from a pair of tin cans, emptied, then filled with a few loose pebbles and soldered shut
Lesser Antilles 112.13 Improvised rattle, made from a single tin can and a few loose pebbles, often played by children practicing for the use of the more common shak-shak or adults at impromptu occasions
Cuba ? Gourd rattle, strung with seeds or beeds
shepherd's crook[4]
Trinidad and Tobago 1 Staff, used spontaneously by banging against the ground in the Spiritual Baptist musical tradition
spoons [1]
Cuba 111.141 Pair of normal spoons beaten together, integral component of the Yambú dance
steeldrum See steelpan -
steeldrum, tock-tock, belly, base kettle, base bum
Trindad and Tobago originally, now widespread 111.2 Made from tempered metal drums, tuned chromatically; not a true drum in that it is an idiophone, not a membranophone
Trinidad and Tobago 1 Tuned bamboo stomping tubes, used as a substitute percussion instrument when drums were outlawed
tcha-kwa See kwa-kwa -
tcha-tcha See kwa-kwa -
Saint Lucia 2 Wooden sticks, played against the rim of a ka, or against a bamboo tube or a log sitting on a stand
tock-tock See steelpan -
bois bourrique
Haiti 111.2 Bamboo trumpet, played as an idiophone by tapping it with sticks
Curaçao 1 Metal disks attached to a wooden board



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