Treshchotka (Russian: трещо́тка, IPA: [trʲɪˈɕːɵtkə], singular; sometimes referred as Treshchotki, Russian: трещо́тки, IPA: [trʲɪˈɕːɵtkʲɪ], plural) is a Russian folk music idiophone instrument which is used to imitate hand clapping.
The word is derived from the root tresk-, meaning crackling or rattle. In Russian slang, word Treshchotka (Russian: Трещотка) sometimes used to describe a person who is excessively chatty and loud.
There are no known documents confirming usage of Treshchotka in ancient Russia; however in 1992, during an archeological dig the city of Novgorod, two wooden boards were found; which, by the hypothesis of Vladimir Ivanovich Povetkin, were parts of the ancient Novgorod's treshchotka of the 12th century. The first published mention of Treshchotka was made by Kliment Vasilievich Kvitka. The great Russian lexicographer Vladimir Dahl describes treshchotka in his "Explanatory Dictionary of the Live Great Russian language" as a device made to produce crackling, thundering and racketing sounds. At the present time some villages in Russia are still playing and crafting treshchotkas.
Treshchotka is made of a set of 15 to 20 thin oak planks/boards which are about 16 to 18 centimeters (approximately 6-8 inches) long; planks are tightly held by a rope that is threaded through the hole on top of each board. To make sure that boards are not pressed against each other a small short piece of wood (2 cm [approximately 1.5 inches]) is inserted between each board.
To play treshchotka one would hold it by the ends with both hands, generally at the chest or head high and alternate the motion between brusque and smooth to produce crackling and clicking sounds. This technique not only attracts listener by its sounds but also adds visual spectacle effect.
It is noted that treshchotkas was used during peasant wedding ceremonies where instrument(s) could have been decorated with ribbons, flowers and sometimes jingle bells. The use of the treshchotka in the wedding ceremonies allows to theorize that in the past it were performing not only a role of musical instrument but also served some mystical function, perhaps protecting newlyweds from evil spirits.
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