Jarana

The jarana is used to play the chords in the Son Jarocho. Whenever you find Son Jarocho, you will always find a Jarana.

The Jarana is a guitar-shaped stringed instrument. It is commonly strung with 8 strings in 5 courses. The body is narrower in proportion to a guitar although you can find the jarana in different sizes: mosquito, primera, segunda and tercera (smallest-biggest). The Jarana never gets to the size as the regular guitar, this is because of it’s Spanish origins.

The Jarana has a distinctive sound, it is played almost like a percussion instrument. It’s sound also depends on it’s size (sharp-deep, being the smallest the sharpest) and it’s maker. The maker is the one that gives the voice to the Jarana.

Here is a video that shows the basic steps in the creation of the Jarana. The maker or laudero is Cesar Castro. He has been playing Son Jarocho and creating Jaranas since 1990. We really recommend you check out his web site.

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2 Responses to “Jarana”

  1. Very cool to see how the instrument is built. Is the fact the jarana is made in different sizes what makes it different from a guitar?

    • Hi Don! The jarana differences from a guitar not only because of the different sizes, but also because it has more strings, it is tuned different and it is played almost like a percussion instrument. I’ll take mine to class next Tuesday (with the treats I forgot)…..

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