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This instrument is made by two medium-sized long piece of hard and resonant wood (8 inc. long and 1 inc diameter) which are strucked together to produce a sharp cutting "wood click" sound.

The claves play a simple two measures rhythmic figure which is considered the foundation of almost all Afro-Cuban and Latin rhythms: singers and musicians are generally guided by the beat of the claves.

This two measures pattern consists of two parts: a "three notes" measure and another of "two notes"; can be played two ways: "3-2" or "2-3" according to the number of strokes in each measure and their sequence.

Once the clave begins it doesn't stop or reverse itself; this establish a unique relationship of the claves to all other instruments. In Latin music the "concept of clave" is a must for any musician to prevent the risk of being "on the wrong side". A good exercise while playing congas (or other instr.) is tapping the clave with your foot or singing it.

The usual technique is to hold one lightly with the thumb and fingertips of the non-dominant hand, with the palm up. This forms the hand into a resonating chamber for the clave. Holding the clave on top of finger nails makes the sound more clear. The other is held by the dominant hand at one end with a firmer grip, much like how one normally holds a drumstick. With the end of this clave, the player strikes the resting clave in the center.

Traditionally, the striking clave is called el macho ("the male") and the resting clave is called la hembra ("the female"). This terminology is used even when the claves are identical.

Basic patterns

The main clave patters are 3:
- 6/8 CLAVE


Basic patterns

Meinl Percussion CL1HW Classic Solid Hardwood Claves

Product Dimensions: 23 x 23 x 22 inches
The MEINL Classic Hardwood Claves are the most common claves and produce the classic cutting sound with just the right amount of resonance. These Claves are solid and deliver a bright, pleasant tone that is fitting for any style of music and any musician, professional or beginner. For drummers, lear ...

Latin Percussion White Wood Clave
Latin Percussion

Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 8.4 x 2.5 inches
Clave (pronounced clah’ vay) is the rhythmic pattern that forms the basis of Latin music. Clave is phrased in what is known as a 3⁄2 (forward clave) or 2⁄3 (backward clave) feel. That is, three beats then two beats or, two beats then three beats. Claves are the traditional instruments ...