The tsikadraha (scraper), which belongs to the family of idiophones is an instrument used only on rare occasions in instrumental groups. This provoked my curiosity to learn more about it.

The tsikadraha can be found just about everywhere on the island but especially among the Tanala (ethnic group located between the highlands and the eastern forest).

This instrument produces a sound more or less like that of a croaking frog. It is possible to vary its pitch by means of the cavity that is closed and opened with the hand holding the instrument while the other hand scrapes the bamboo with a small ridged wooden stick. It is easy to play. At first, players used their left hand to hold the tsikadraha by its body in front of the knot of bamboo. But later on, it was held by the cavity and the right hand scraped it with a thin wooden stick.

Here are two examples to help understand its use and cultural value:

- a funeral ceremony in southeast Madagascar (burial of someone of high social standing); - a fampitaha ceremony in eastern and northeastern Madagascar where young people take part in a sort of fashion and beauty competition.

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The tsikadraha (scraper), which belongs to the family of idiophones is an instrument used only on rare occasions in instrumental groups. This provoked my curiosity to learn more about it.

The tsikadraha can be found just about everywhere on the island but especially among the Tanala (ethnic group located between the highlands and the eastern forest).

This instrument produces a sound more or less like that of a croaking frog. It is possible to vary its pitch by means of the cavity that is closed and opened with the hand holding the instrument while the other hand scrapes the bamboo with a small ridged wooden stick. It is easy to play. At first, players used their left hand to hold the tsikadraha by its body in front of the knot of bamboo. But later on, it was held by the cavity and the right hand scraped it with a thin wooden stick.

Here are two examples to help understand its use and cultural value:

- a funeral ceremony in southeast Madagascar (burial of someone of high social standing); - a fampitaha ceremony in eastern and northeastern Madagascar where young people take part in a sort of fashion and beauty competition.

Besides these traditional uses, the tsikadraha can also be used for other purposes: contemporary music with modern songs, variety music, jazz, etc.

It is very easy to make a tsikadraha but it requires a lot of dexterity. Anyone can play the tsikadraha at any time, when and where they wish, not only for traditional music but in all sorts of Malagasy or modern orchestrations as well. The tsikadraha must always be accompanied by other instruments because it cannot be played on its own.

The tsikadraha is also found in other countries like Brazil and even in the Sudan. In Brazil, the Mura Indians of Antaz call it the caracha. It is played the same way everywhere.

© 1999, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Tsikadraha

Tsikadraha, faray

Museum of Art and Archeology of the University of Antananarivo, Madagascar

39 to 60 cm x 4 to 6 cm, Le: 17 to 35 cm
© Museum of Art and Archeology of the University of Antananarivo, Madagascar


Tsikadraha

Tsikadraha

Museum of Art and Archeology of the University of Antananarivo, Madagascar

39 to 60 cm x 4 to 6 cm, Le:17 to 35 cm
© Museum of Art and Archeology of the University of Antananarivo, Madagascar


The tsikadraha is an instrument of the idiophone family made from a bamboo tube cut a few centimetres away from a knot at one end. The other end is bevelled. Ridges or notches spaced 2 mm apart are carved around virtually the entire body of the instrument. These notches are then scraped with a small stick to produce a sound.

Tsikadraha are small in the highlands but become longer and wider on the east coast. The instrument is used to accompany songs or dances. It can be played by women, young men or children.

The instrument is held in the left hand at the unbevelled end. The right hand holds a small, 15 to 30 cm long and 1 to 2 cm wide, stick and scrapes the ridges with it rhythmically.

The Muroi Indians of Antaz in Brazil have an identical scraper that they call the "caracacha". During the slave era, the tsikadraha was imported to Madagascar through immigration.
The tsikadraha is an instrument of the idiophone family made from a bamboo tube cut a few centimetres away from a knot at one end. The other end is bevelled. Ridges or notches spaced 2 mm apart are carved around virtually the entire body of the instrument. These notches are then scraped with a small stick to produce a sound.

Tsikadraha are small in the highlands but become longer and wider on the east coast. The instrument is used to accompany songs or dances. It can be played by women, young men or children.

The instrument is held in the left hand at the unbevelled end. The right hand holds a small, 15 to 30 cm long and 1 to 2 cm wide, stick and scrapes the ridges with it rhythmically.

The Muroi Indians of Antaz in Brazil have an identical scraper that they call the "caracacha". During the slave era, the tsikadraha was imported to Madagascar through immigration.

© 1999, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Tsikadraha: Audio

Tsikadraha: Audio

Canadian Heritage Information Network
Canadian Heritage Information Network, Centre des recherches et études andalouses, Centre des musiques arabes et méditerranéennes Ennejma Ezzahra, Musée de la musique, Laboratoire de recherche des musiques du monde, Musée acadien de l'Université de Moncton, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Musée d'art et d'archéologie de l'Université d'Antananarivo, Musée ethnographique Alexandre Sènou Adande, Musée national du Mali, St. Boniface Museum, Lycée de langues étrangères Alexandre Dumas, Museum of the Romanian Peasant

© 1999, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.


Learning Objectives

The learner will:

  • Understand that music is an expression in all cultures
  • Understand that the relationship between personal feelings and music transcends borders and cultures
  • Develop respect for music from a variety of cultural contexts
  • Examine traditional music practices in selected Francophone countries
  • Demonstrate geographical awareness by identifying Francophone countries
  • Be aware of the musical contributions of various cultural groups in their own community
  • Understand that all world music can be organized within a standard classification system

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