Definition of claves in English:


Pronunciation /klāvz/ /kleɪvz/

plural noun

  • A pair of hardwood sticks used to make a hollow sound when struck together.

    ‘The mic was also nice on wooden percussion - claves, castanets, etc. - and hand claps and finger snaps.’
    • ‘These three main patterns are amplified by turtle shells, claves, timbales, bongos, congas, maracas and tambourines.’
    • ‘Musicians will demonstrate bomba and plena, and give a group lesson on the claves - wooden sticks that are the backbone of Latin rhythms.’
    • ‘With the volume cranked to 4 on a minimalist bass and claves section, it could be easy to forget which band you're listening to.’
    • ‘It's basically like a big compilation of West and Central African rhythms and claves; the book has different types of groups or families of rhythms, and then you get into polyrhythmic stuff, drumbeats.’


1920s from Latin American Spanish, from Spanish clave ‘keystone’, from Latin clavis ‘key’.