The reco-reco is an idiophone with a timbral intonation not aligned to the tonal process, with a sound of indeterminate pitch. Its shape is usually cylindrical, which is not the case for this specific item, which has a straight base. It can be made of one or more buds of bamboo (taboca or taquara), wood, metal, bovine horn or gourd (like its Cuban counterpart, the guiro), where transverse grooves are made along its entire length, creating a toothed track. To play, the instrumentalist rubs the grooves with a specific type of drumstick.
Reco-reco is the generic term for the scraped idiophone. It refers to any type of material whose surface – or part of it – is made of a series of transversal and parallel grooves that are very close, along the length of the piece, to be rubbed with a specific type of drumstick.
According to the renowned English percussionist James Blades in his reference book “Percussion instruments and their history”, the record of the existence of this instrument in Central Europe dates from the Stone Age, evidenced from a example of a paleolithic bone scraper found in the cave of Pekarna, in Moravia, which is part of the collection of the Moravian Museum in Brno, in the Czech Republic.
The reco-reco is part of the Brazilian rhythm and is part of our folklore and the music of several indigenous peoples. Villa-Lobos made extensive use of this instrument in his works, having created a special model with a mute, like this example that is part of the Villa-Lobos Museum.
PEDRO SÁ, 2014.