Calabash rebec (Calabash (pumpkin), horse hair, wood, skin)

Calabash rebec (Calabash (pumpkin), horse hair, wood, skin)
Calabash rebec, Toledo. Lydia Zarceño. 'Copyleft' Luis Á. Payno y Lydia Zarceño

Calabash rebec (Calabash (pumpkin), horse hair, wood, skin)

During carnival and other feasts with leisure activities, temporary instruments are made for use during the festival but with no eye to keeping them.

This is the case with this Pumpkin rebec (calabash) from Lagartera (Toledo). It is made from a dry gourd with a long stem which acts as a neck.

A side section was cut out and a skin was tautened over this hole. A cylindrical piece of wood was placed in the end as a key and horse hair is fixed to it. The bow is similar to that of other rebecs, although longer and it has rattles on the end, because it is played during festivals and the bow was used to hit and irritate other people.

It is clear that musical quality and tuning is not important here, but rather the fun and gaiety. The habit of playing satirical, politically critical or erotic songs on the rebec probably comes from its use during carnivals, when there was greater tolerance towards lyrics and irreverence.

 

 

Sound of  calabash rebec: click on black triangle