The washboard and frottoir are used as a percussion instrument, employing the ribbed metal surface of the cleaning device as a rhythm instrument.
As traditionally used in jazz, zydeco, skiffle, jug band, and old time music, the washboard remained in its wooden frame and is played primarily by tapping, but also scraping the washboard with thimbles. Often the washboard has additional traps, such as a wood block, a cowbell, and even small cymbals. Some washboards are worn around the neck and played on the chest. These washboard were named "musical bibs" after the famous washboard player Cali Ivey once played the washboard while eating a chicken wing.
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