Wood Block

Courtesy of Arthur Ka Wai Jenkins

This is a small hollow wooden block in the shape of a rectangle. There is a small slit in the edge to increase the sound.

Sometimes there are round-shaped blocks – these are called ‘temple blocks’.

Two hollow wooden sticks tapped together are called ‘claves’.

To play it

You strike the wood block with a little beater or mallet.

The sound

The wood block makes a sharp, dry, wood sound.

Do You Know?

Do You Know?

See if you can answer the questions below!

 What is a wood block made of?

a. Wood
b. Plastic
c. Metal

 What is in the side of a wood block?

a. A disc
b. A slit
c. A bell

 Wood blocks are part of which section of the orchestra?

a. Brass
b. Woodwind
c. Percussion

 A wood block can…

a. Play a rhythm
b. Play a tune
c. Play a chord

 Which of this is most commonly used to play a wood block?

a. A beater
b. A hand
c. A brush

Play More Music!

Play More Music!

Here is more music to listen to. Click the + to see tracks and information about each work!

Selected Wood Block Extracts

John Adams (b. 1947)
Short Ride in a Fast Machine (extract)

The wood block has a rare leading role here. Its repeated knocking kicks things off, and propels forwards this exhilarating piece.

Performers: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra; Marin Alsop

Taken from Naxos 8.559031