The appearance of the txalaparta has not always been the same or everywhere. As far as the appearance of the traditional txalaparta is concerned, the most frequent is the following:
Two supports; baskets or baskets placed face down, chairs or benches. On them, something that serves to isolate; leaves of corn, dry grass, old sacks,… On them, placed horizontally, a board approximately two meters long, twenty centimeters wide and six centimeters thick. The supports are placed approximately one-fifth of the end of the board.
Four sticks to touch. Their length and appearance are usually different from place to place. Regarding the length, those of the Zuaznabar of Lasarte have 52 centimeters, those of the Goikoetxea of Astigarraga have 60 and those of the hamlets of Billandegi 88. In the three cases, the sticks are conical-troncal.
The way of playing: Each one strikes with his two sticks on the board placed horizontally (and isolated, so that the resonance is not lost), from top to bottom and holding the sticks vertically. The instrumentalists are usually two, and the music is composed between them. The interpreter receives a different name depending on the place:
Although there are certain variants in terms of appearance, this is the most common: a steel lever approximately one and a half meters long. It is suspended at both ends, held by two people by ropes. To touch it, four small iron bars of 30 centimeters in length are used.
Two interpreters. They have two small iron bars, one in each hand. A game similar to the one played with the txalaparta is played. In the Lesaka area, the person who marks the rhythm is called “bia” and the companion is called “pikatzailea” or “errepikia” (“bata” in the Oiartzun area). The coplero, the bersolari. He sings his coplas or bersos interspersed with the performance of the lever, both with old bersos belonging to the tradition of the nozzle itself, prepared for the occasion, and new bersos improvised at the time.
The txistulari alone is enough to form the group needed to mark the melody and rhythm; it plays the txistu with one hand and with the stick it carries in the other it plays the drum hanging from the arm holding the txistu.
The importance of this instrument is clearly reflected by the name of danboliterua (drummer) that has been given to its interpreter throughout history. In certain regions the instrument is called ttun-ttun, and in the same way “ttunttunerua” to the txistulari. It lends rhythmic help to the melody interpreted by the txistu and there have not been many “danboliteruak” (drummers in
reference to the txistulari) that have not touched the drum.
With different names, these musical instruments have accompanied txistularis and flutists since ancient times, giving rhythmic help to their melodies. The atabaleros of the groups of txistularis play with great prestance, adorning and enriching the music of the txistularis with redobles and rhythmic games of great complexity (in addition to the help of the tamboril).
A piece of news dating back to the 16th century tells us that when Charles IX arrived in San Juan de Luz he was entertained by watching the local girls dance. All these dancing girls carried in their hands a “tamborcillo” like a sieve with many bells. Another piece of news about the tambourine that dates back to the 17th century tells us the following: on the trip made by the lady of Aulnoy, when she arrived at Pasajes, << a batelera with fifty companions came to receive her, each woman carrying her oar on her shoulder; they walked in two large columns, and at the head of the entourage three bateleras skillfully touched the tambourine. After greeting the lady of Aulnoy they began to play the tambourine more sonorously, they shouted broadly and rowed, jumping and dancing with great elegance. They said the last goodbye to the traveler with their panderos, dancing and singing.>> (P. Donostia, 1952).
It is usually a pot of different sizes (30-60 centimeters high). All we know are clay, except the one found in the village of Baigorri. The bottom is removed and closed with a tight leather patch. A rope impregnated with fish is passed through the leather.
Although the existing documentation concerning this instrument is scarce, many of our elders keep frescoes in their memory of events around it, stories that were told about it. Some have known it live and have even used it. The function it has played in our environment has not been anything musical, but rather has served to make noise, frighten and frighten.
Today, although these instruments and string groups have practically disappeared, at one time they were relieved of their duties.