maraca (plural maracas). Lat.-Amer. perc. instr. made from a pair of dried Cuban gourds, with beans or beads inside. Shaken by handle to produce a rattling effect. (Sometimes made of other materials with lead shot inside, to give a stronger effect.) Usually played as a pair. Used by dance-bands, also in concert works by 20th-cent. composers such as Varèse, Prokofiev, Bernstein, Arnold, McCabe, etc.
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