Whip (instrument)

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A slap stick

In music, a whip or slapstick is a percussion instrument. It consists of two pieces of wood joined by a hinge. The pieces of wood are slapped together. This makes a noise like a whip. There is a handle on each of the pieces of wood so that the player can hold it and slap them together without trapping his fingers.

The whip is often heard in modern orchestras, bands and percussion groups. Examples of a whip in classical music can be heard near the beginning of Ravel's Piano Concerto (3rd movement), and in Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra.

There is another type of whip, in which one plank is longer than the other. It can be played with one hand. The player shakes the instrument quickly and the small plank moves away from the large one, then slaps back onto it. It makes a different kind of sound from the whip, and is properly called a slapstick. It has been used by several composers including Mahler, Richard Strauss, Ravel, Mussorgsky and Hindemith. The first whip was designed in the 14th century.

References[change | change source]

  • The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Musical Instruments published by Konemann, ISBN 3-8331-2195-5