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Carlos Chávez

Carlos Chávez

General Info

Year: 1967
Duration: c. 14:00
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Alfred Music Pub.
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $35.00


Full Score
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drums (2)
  • Bongo Set (very small and medium)
  • Claves (small, large and extra large)
  • Conga
  • Crash Cymbals (very large)
  • Glockenspiel
  • Gong (extra large)
  • Guiros (small and large)
  • Maracas
  • Rasping Stick (small and large)
  • Ratchet (extra large)
  • Rattle, metal
  • Rattles (clay and soft)
  • Sandpaper Blocks
  • Snare Drums (2)
  • Suspended Cymbals (large and very small)
  • Swiss Brass Bells
  • Tap-a-Tap (large)
  • Tenor Drum
  • Tom-Toms (2)
  • Triangle
  • Tubular Bells
  • Vibraphone
  • Water Gourd (small and large)
  • Wood Block
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Tambuco is a percussion-ensemble work for six players, written by the Mexican composer Carlos Chávez in 1964. The score is dedicated to Clare Boothe Luce, and a performance of it lasts approximately thirteen minutes.

The impulse to compose Tambuco came about in an unusual way. In 1950, Clare Boothe Luce had commissioned Chávez's Third Symphony, completed in 1954. Their unlikely friendship continued for nearly three decades and, after Luce began working in mosaics in 1963, they agreed to exchange commissions for works from each other. For Chávez, Luce created a 4' x 5' mosaic titled Golden Tiger, which he hung in his Lomas de Chapultepec studio in Mexico City. In return, he created Tambuco.

The premiere took place on 11 October 1965 in the Leo S. Bing Theater at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, performed by the Los Angeles Percussion Ensemble conducted by William Kraft.

Each of the six performers plays a battery of at least six different instruments. Melodic (pitched) instruments are found in each of the players' groups, which also each include wood, metal, and membrane instruments.

Instead of the conventional procedures of thematic repetition and development, Tambuco unfolds in what the composer describes as "a constant process of consequent evolution. That is to say, an initial idea serves as an 'antecedent' to a 'consequent', which in turn immediately becomes an antecedent to a new consequent, and so on until the end of the piece". Chávez elsewhere characterizes such a procedure as being "like a spiral".

The work falls into three main sections, each characterized by the predominance of certain instruments:

  • Rasps, rattles, and blocks )
  • Definite-pitched instruments (glockenspiel, celesta, vibraphone, chimes, and marimba, b. 159–207), ending with a xylophone transition passage
  • Timpani, bongos, conga, and bass drums (

This main structure is followed by a coda in which the definite-pitched instruments gradually re-enter, leading to an abrupt ending.

- Program Note from Wikipedia

Commercial Discography


State Ratings

  • Missouri: Percussion.Ensemble.Grade.A


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Chávez, C. (1967). Tambuco: For Six Percussion Players [score]. CPP/Belwin: Miami, Fla.
  • Tambuco (Chávez), Wikipedia Accessed 24 September 2020