The txistu is a simple, three-holed flute with great character. Its excellent sound has gradually matured since the 16th century. By the way it is tuned, you might say that it has an infinite wealth of sounds, as each txistulari creates their own world of highly personal sounds. The first txistus were made from bird bones. In the 18th century, some Basque noblemen with enlightened ideals encouraged its development until they achieved a range of two octaves, correctly tuned. One of the most popular and admired instruments, the txistu is in its heyday and can be heard in any corner in Euskadi. Travellers to Euskadi should make it a point to take in a concert by today’s highly skilled txistularis.
The tamboril is a drum with a long narrow cylinder. Players usually carry the instrument hanging from their left arm and they hit it with a thin drumstick, called a ziria, carried in their right hand. Solemn and joyful at the same time, it usually accompanies the txistu as an inseparable component in a show worth watching.
The trikitixa is a small accordion that has been played since the 19th century. It is normally accompanied by a tambourine and the duo is called a trikiti. It is usually played at romerías (religious festivals) and popular festivals.
The txalaparta is a traditional Basque percussion instrument consisting of two supports, either chairs or benches, resting on an insulating material of some kind such as maize leaves or dry grass. The instrument is hit with four sticks, two for each txalapartari, as it is played in pairs. Traditionally, it was played to celebrate the end of the community work (auzolan) and at weddings.