Dem Bones Dem Bones

What Are Rhythm Bones?
The Bones Player

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.

More Info

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!

Bone Types

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

Country or
Anglo-Saxon possibly cladersticca
Asturia (in Spain) tarranoelles
Australia clapsticks
Basque artxalus
Breton (Celts in France) gradjel, gragell
China ban, pan
Chwana (in South Africa, Botswana) marapo, marupa
Denmark Smældstikker
Egypt (ancient) mah (straight), awoy (curved), dwawt (angled)
English-speaking bones, clappers, kicky-knackers, clackers, castanets, nackers
France, Quebec os, cliquettes, claquettes
Galicia (in Spain) tarranuelles, tarrañolas, castaneta, trancañolas, tixoletas, trécolas
German Brettchenklapper, Brettschen, Kleppern, Klepperle
Greece (ancient) krotala
Ireland, Scotland (where Gaelic is spoken) cnamhan, cnaimh
Japan hyoshigi
Latvia klapîtes
Norway Smellstikker
Okinawa yotsudake
Persia (medieval) chihar pare
Poland bocian
Portugal trancanholas
Roman Empire crotala
Russia lozhki
Spain tejoletas, palillos, tarrañuelas, tarreñas, tejuelas, tejas, telletas, losetas, recholetas, pizarretas
Sweden snatterpinnar
Switzerland chlefeli
Thailand kaep, kap
Turkey çarpara, çalpara
Viet Nam cap ke
Zulu (South Africa) amatambo

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