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The huēhuētl [ˈweːweːt͡ɬ] is a percussion instrument from Mexico, used by the Aztecs and other cultures. It is an upright tubular drum made from a wooden body opened at the bottom that stands on three legs cut from its base, with skin stretched over the top. It can be beaten by hand or wood mallet.



This ancient percussion instrument originated from Meseroamerica and was often used by the Aztecs and Tarascan. [1] The huehuetl were used during festivals such as warrior gatherings. The drum itself is made from hollowed tree trunks and thus, came in different sizes. Carvings of animals, faces or warriors were also often carved into the base of the drum. The skin used for the top of the drum was mainly from ocelots. [2] Currently, there are still groups of musicians who use huehuetls to perform Aztec music.


Terminology [3] 1st Component2nd Component
drumhuēhuētl [ˈweːweːt͡ɬ] old (adjective)huēhuē [ˈweːweː] singular noun suffix-tl [t͡ɬ]
medium size drumpanhuēhuētl [panˈweːweːt͡ɬ]
large drumtlālpanhuēhuētlNahuatl pronunciation:  [t͡ɬaːɬpanˈweːweːt͡ɬ] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen )on the ground or
throughout the country
tlālpan [ˈt͡ɬaːɬpan] drumhuēhuētl [ˈweːweːt͡ɬ]
war drumyāōhuēhuētl [yaːoːˈweːweːt͡ɬ] waryāōtl [ˈjaːoːt͡ɬ] drumhuēhuētl [ˈweːweːt͡ɬ]
huēhuētl drummerhuēhuēhuah [weːˈweːwaʔ]
drummingtlatzotzonalli [t͡ɬat͡sot͡soˈnalːi]
to drumtlatzotzona [t͡ɬat͡soˈt͡sona]
musical instrumenttlatzotzonalōni [t͡ɬat͡sot͡sonaˈloːni]

See also

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  1. Beristain, S. (2013). "Teponaztli, An Ancient Percussion Instrument". Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 134 (5): 4158. Bibcode:2013ASAJ..134.4158B. doi:10.1121/1.4831237.
  2. Beristain, Sergio (2015-04-01). "Ancient Aztec drum, the Huehuetl". The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 137 (4): 2318. Bibcode:2015ASAJ..137.2318B. doi:10.1121/1.4920460. ISSN   0001-4966.
  3. Nahuatl dictionary. (1997). Wired humanities project. Retrieved August 31, 2012, from link

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