The Maracas

Percussion Instrument

Mexican Maracas
Lara Danielle/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0

Maracas are perhaps one of the easiest musical instruments to play since it only needs to be shaken to produce sound. Rhythm and timing are important when playing this percussion instrument. A player can either shake it softly or vigorously depending on the type of music. Maracas are played in pairs.

First Known Maracas

The maracas are believed to be inventions of the Tainos, they are the native Indians of Puerto Rico. It was originally made from the fruit of the higuera tree which is round in shape. The pulp is taken out of the fruit, holes are made and filled with tiny pebbles and then it's fitted with a handle. The pair of maracas sounds different because the number of pebbles inside is unequal to give them a distinct sound. Nowadays, maracas are made from different materials such as plastic.

Musicians Who Used Maracas

Maracas are used in the music of Puerto Rico and Latin American music such as salsa. The maracas is used in George Gershwin's Cuban Overture.