Grandma's Washboard An Unappreciated Musical Instrument
In the mid to late 19th century, washboards were used as musical instruments when amateur performers couldn’t afford real percussion instruments. The original purpose of a washboard was to wash articles of clothing. In the music world, washboards are a percussion instrument, played by a percussionist. The washboard adds a scrapping or tapping sound to the rhythm, but it also can serve as the base line of the rhythm. Washboards are used in Zydeco and Cajun-Zydeco music. Brushes, thimbles, wooden and metal spoons, whisk broom, and drum sticks are all used to create music with the washboard. Accessories can be added to the washboard to make additional sounds. The traditional accessories include bells, tin cans, woodblocks, or bicycle horns.
What Does a Washboard Look Like?
- Washboard: Ohio History Teachers presents a picture of a washboard. The washboard has a wood frame and metal ridges, which was typical in the 1900s era.
- Washboard and Tub: Picture of a washboard and tub are presented by Ohio Kids. Ohio Kids also talks about why washboards were used, and how washboards were later used as musical instruments.
- Washboard with Accessories: A picture of a washboard with accessories is provided by museum collections. The washboard’s accessories include a cake pan, cymbal, bicycle bells, horns, cow bells and oval reflectors.
- Difference Between Washboard and a Rub Board: The rub board is a version of the washboard, which is used in Zydeco style music. Located below the article is a picture of a rub board and washboard, shown to represent the differences.
- Washboard Materials: Talks about the different materials that can be used for washboards. The typical frame is made from wood, while the ridges can vary in materials. Ridges can be made of brass, glass, spiral metal, galvanized and stainless steel.
- How To Play The Washboard: An interesting article that tells how to play the washboard.
- History behind the Washboard: Gives information about the history of washboards.
Washboard’s Place in Zydeco and Cajun-Zydeco Music
- Zydeco Music: A fascinating article that discusses Zydeco, what instruments are used, and where the music was first born.
- Cajun Music: Gives a brief history of the Cajun, Zydeco and Creole music. The article also provides historical records that were produced.
- Dixieland Music: Talks about musicians from New Orleans located in Chicago, shifting the jazz scene in the 1920s.
- Jazz Music: Jazz history timeline from the first recorded time in the 1600s to present time.
- Bluegrass Music: Bluegrass music performers who perform at the Appalachia in the Bluegrass Concert series.
- Creole Music: The history of the Creole, including Creole music.
- The Music of Louisiana:
- Difference between Zydeco and Cajun Music: The article shares the differences between Zydeco and Cajun style music.
- Musician David Holt: An intriguing article on how David Holt dedicates his life to storytelling, preserving and continuing American music.
- Jazz Artists: A list of artists who performed jazz in the 1900s.
- Washboard Chaz Leary: A talented musician who gained recognition for his acoustics in country blues.
Places to Enjoy and Participate in Washboard Music
- Ohio’s Washboard Music Festival: Celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2010, providing performances of different music styles.
- Sacramento Washboard Concert: Sacramento celebrates the memorial washboard concert of the later washboardist, Bill Gunter.
- Washboard Concerts at Dixieland Monterey: Held in California, Dixieland Monterey offers Jazz music.
- The Great Connecticut Traditional Jazz Festival: Festival of jazz musicians from all around the country, and other countries too.
- Carolina Jazz Festival: A feature festival representing the past, present time, and future of jazz history.
- Cajun and Blues Music Festival: Featuring Cajun and Blues music, located in Simi Valley, California.
- The Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival: A festival that features Cajun-Zydeco music, located in New Orleans, Louisiana.