A list of the best rhythm bones historical articles

Sue Barber’s University of Michigan senior project paper titled The Bones, Ancient to Modern has been referenced by many people. Sue had access to Percy Danforth and his library. It has a small bibliography. 1975


McDowell’s article titled Bones and Man: Toward a History of Bones Playing, Traces rhythm bones playing to US from Europe and includes minstrelsy. Has a large bibliography. 1982. RBP,186 The article itself is online:


Beth Lenz’s Master Thesis titled ‘Bones in the United States’ documents that rhythm bones came to the US from Europe. Beth had access to Percy Danforth and his library. It has a large bibliography. 1989. Parts of it were printed in the RBP news-letter:Complete Thesis:


The Mescher Bones Tradition: Syncopations on the American Landscape. This PhD thesis by Dr. Mel Mercier is a study of the development, transmission and performance of the Mescher style of rhythm bones playing. This is the first PhD thesis on rhythm bones, but it covers a lot more. 2011.  The link above is an abstract of the Thesis and there is a link there to the complete Thesis.


Jonathan Danforth’s Bones Fest XXIV Workshop titled: Bones in Space and Time.  He traces how ideas like rhythm bones are spread around the world by people.  A quite unique approach.