Percussion instrument consisting of two independent, cylinder-shaped wooden sticks. The term is of Spanish origin and is related to the wooden sections of the instrument. In Cuba, it is also used to designate a choir, a song genre and the rhythm it produces.
Cuban ethnographer Fernando Ortiz said that the origin of the claves ways back to the 16th and 17th century, when they started to be used in Havana in conjunction with songs of Spanish workers, African slaves and galley slaves. Most of them were involved in building fortresses and ships.
The claves were initially simply used to provide accompaniment.
Aside from construction sites near the Bay of Havana, the Cuban claves were seen in other settings to cover music genres like rumba and tap dance first, and dance genres later.
The instrument has always been divided into two distinct parts (male and female sticks). Solid and hard wood is required to make claves. The sound quality and intensity will largely depend on this.