A pair of claves is a very basic form of musical instrument. It is literally two wooden sticks around 15cm in length and between 2cm and 3cm in diameter. To play the claves simply follow these steps:

  1. Hold one clave in one hand.
  2. Hold other clave in other hand.
  3. Strike one clave with other.
  4. Pause.
  5. Repeat previous two steps until fulfilled.
Not at all. Claves are not simple wooden sticks. Often, they are carefully hollowed to the same pitch, and built so as to resonate properly in the human hand. The clave is, in Latin music, the basis of practically all rhythms. Latin beats are built around a two-bar 4/4 rhythm, also called a "clave", which can be played one of two ways.

In the first, in the first measure, the clave plays the downbeat of beat 1, the upbeat of beat 2, and the downbeat of beat four. In the second measure, the clave plays the downbeats of beats 2 and 3. This is the same rhythm as a "rhumba".

In the second, the two bars are simply reversed, with the clave playing beats 2 and 3 of the first measure, and so on.

To play the claves:

1. Make a loose fist in the hand opposite your favored hand, and rest the clave on the length of your thumb, the ball of your hand, and your knuckles. This will allow space beneath the clave, and allow much more resonance than "holding" the clave.
2. Hold the other clave near the end with only your thumb and first two fingers. Hold it loosely enough that it vibrates slightly when you strike it on the other clave.
3. Strike the clave in your dominant hand gently on the other with a legato movement, allowing both to vibrate and resonate. Make sure you do this in rhythm, as playing claves out of time is as tacky as old women in go-go boots.

Thanks for trying, though, FlameBoy.

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