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Instrument Name

Etymology and Alternative Spellings

Muyu (Wooden Fish)


The orchestral wood block of the West is generally made from teak or another hardwood. The dimensions of this instrument vary, although it is either a rectangular or cylindrical block of wood with one or sometimes two longitudinal cavities. It is played by striking it with a stick, which produces a sharp crack.[1] Alternatively, a rounder mallet, soft or hard, may be used, which produces a deeper-pitched and fuller "knocking" sound. On a drum kit, a wood block is traditionally mounted on a clamp fixed to the top of the rear rim of the bass drum.


A wood block (also spelled as a single word, woodblock) is made from a single piece of wood. The term generally signifies the Western orchestral instrument, though it is descended from the Chinese woodblock. Alternative names sometimes used in ragtime and jazz are clog box and tap box. In orchestral music scores, wood blocks may be indicated by the French bloc de bois or tambour de bois, German Holzblock or Holzblocktrommel, or Italian cassa di legno. [2]

Sticks, Mallets, Beaters



Stroke Style/Type



See Also

Log drums
Temple Blocks


  1. Montagu, Jeremy. 2002b. "Woodblock", The Oxford Companion to Music, edited by Alison Latham. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. Template:ISBN.
  2. Blades, James, and James Holland. 2001. "Woodblock". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers.