What Are Rhythm Bones?
The Bone Player - A painting by William Sidney Mount
The Bones in Brief
Bones are sets of slabs or sticks, held two (or more) in each hand, and made to strike each other to make snapping and rolling sounds. Bones are one of several types of clappers, but there are also clappers which are held one in each hand and struck on on the other, and clappers which have two parts tied to a handle that strike each other, and these are not bones. The bones should not be confused with spoons, which are also clappers, or with dominoes, which are flat blocks of bone, or plastic inscribed with 1 to 12 white dots. Names such as clappers, sticks, spoons, clackers, and knicky-knackers have been subscribed to the bones. The name is derived from their original composition and nomenclature, bones. Originally rib bones of animals were used since their size and shape fit the need desired. For different sounds, tones and conveniences other materials, particularly wood are used.
For a historical summary, and a general survey of the bones and bones history by Sue Ellen Barber, click HERE
To find out where to buy bones, click HERE
For instructional tapes and videos, try HERE
For online tutorial material, go HERE
To see a variety of bones made of different materials and to learn how bones are named around the world, just scroll down!
Here are pictures of only some of the many types of bones that are available today followed by what material they are made from. These all come from Ev Cowett's own bone collection. Many of these can be purchased however a great many boners enjoy making there own personalized bones to fit their own style.
If you have some special bones that you would like to share, or if you are a manufacturer of bones and would like for us to add that information to our page, please let us know via email (see address at bottom of page).
Names given to the Bones around the World
|Asturia (in Spain)
|Breton (Celts in France)
|Chwana (in South Africa, Botswana)
||mah (straight), awoy (curved), dwawt (angled)
||bones, clappers, kicky-knackers, clackers, castanets, nackers
||os, cliquettes, claquettes
|Galicia (in Spain)
||tarranuelles, tarrañolas, castaneta, trancañolas, tixoletas, trécolas
||Brettchenklapper, Brettschen, Kleppern, Klepperle
|Ireland, Scotland (where Gaelic is spoken)
||tejoletas, palillos, tarrañuelas, tarreñas, tejuelas, tejas, telletas, losetas, recholetas, pizarretas
|Zulu (South Africa)