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Sunday, 26 January 2014


Castanets were developed from the ancient Roman crotalum, which consisted of two rounded hollows of ebony.

They are held in the palm and drummed together by the fingers to produce a rhythmic accompaniment to dance.

Castanets are traditionally made of hardwood although fibreglass is becoming increasingly popular.

In Andalusia they are usually referred to as palillos (little sticks) instead, and this is the name by which they are known in such Spanish dances as the flamenco.

Castanets are also referred to as clackers in the United States.

Orchestral castanets or ‘clappers’, mounted on a handle, were employed by silent-film effects musicians to imitate the sound of a galloping horse, hence the phrase ‘to run like the clappers.’

Source Hutchinson Encyclopedia © RM 2011. Helicon Publishing 

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