28 October 2008

wash day

Capitol Square / Madison, Wisconsin
The washboard was originally designed for hand washing of clothing. However, with the introduction of mechanized washing machines by the end of the 20th century, the washboard began to take on a secondary life as a musical instrument. Traditionally used in jazz, zydeco, jug band, and old time music, the washboard has remained in its wooden frame and is played primarily by tapping and/or scraping the washboard with thimbles. Often the washboard is accessorized with additional improvised percussion instruments such as a wood block, cowbells, and small cymbals. This lad was quite talented at stroking a rhythm from his fully equipped board which was further enhanced by his old-timey look.

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