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  • Andrés Amado
  •  and Linda O’Brien

Among the Maya of Guatemala and Chiapas, Mexico, the word may denote instrument ensembles, musical genres of probable Spanish origin, or particular music events. As a string ensemble it may include one or more three- or four-string rabels or violins, some rudely constructed of half a calabash, or of wood with deerskin sides, and played with loose horsehair bows; one or more six-string guitars or five-string guitarrillos or tiples; the now obsolescent bandurria, bandola, or bandolín; and an arpa (diatonic frame harp), often beaten with a padded stick by a musician who alternately beats a snare drum. To this ensemble might be added an adufe (frame drum) or an accordion. Among the Q’eqchi’, the zarabanda mostly includes a violin, a guitarrilla, and a harp whose soundbox is additionally beaten by hand or with a drumstick.