A washboard is a household item used as a musical instrument. Type – idiophone.
As a laundry composition, the washboard appeared at the beginning of the 20th century. The history of the invention as a musical instrument began in the XNUMXs of the last century. For the first time, the idiophone tried on the role of a percussion instrument in American jug groups: the musicians played the African jug and tablespoons, and the drummers tapped the rhythm on the washboard.
Clifton Chenier is a popularizer of the board among musicians. In the 40s of the XNUMXth century, Chenier founded the Zaydeco musical style. After Chenier’s performances, instrument manufacturers launched mass production of models sharpened for playing music. The new versions differed from the usual ones by the absence of a massive frame and a convenient shape. The upgraded models are named after the French word “frottoir”, which means “grater”.
When playing the idiophone, the performer puts the object on his knees, leaning against the body. Reduced versions are hung around the neck. The sound is created by hitting a spoon and other metal objects on the surface. Less commonly, fingers alone are used. Skilled musicians use picks worn on the fingers. Playing with multiple picks creates a complex sound and complex rhythms.
It continues to be used by jazz groups in the XNUMXst century. Popular Russian performers are the groups “With knees like a bird”, “Kickin’ Jass Orchestra”.