from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Castanets ([ kastaˈɲɛtn̩ ], after the French castagnettes ; Spanish : castañuelas ) are shell -shaped, mostly wooden rattles about five centimeters in diameter to be played in pairs , which are suitable for rhythmic accompaniment.

The percussion instrument consists of two shell-shaped, hollowed out shells ( conchas ), which are usually made of hardwood , but are now often made of fiberglass-reinforced plastic . With the ribbon attached to one end, which loosely connects the two castanet leaves, the mussels are attached to one finger (usually the thumb, and in the past and, in certain regional dances, still today, the middle finger). With the help of the other fingers you let the bowls hit each other quickly and rhythmically, which creates a trembling sound . If the player has castanets in both hands, the two pairs of bowls can also be hit against each other. Pairs of castanets consist of a deeper half-shell, the macho (male), and a higher one, the hembra (female). A skillful playing technique can produce different timbres of the characteristic noise caused by counter-strikes.

A simplified variant are the castanets with a wooden handle, which are much easier to play, but only produce a single type of sound. They are used in the orchestra.

The castanets probably come from the Orient , the word can be traced back to the Arabic term for hand clap kas , also kāsāt . They were already known in Mesopotamia , among the Egyptians and Greeks. In Spain they have been around since the 1st century BC. Occupied. According to another etymology, they were given the name castañuelas there because of their resemblance to chestnuts (Spanish castaña ). In Andalusia they are also called palillos ("sticks").

The use of castanets has been widespread in southern Spanish dance music ( Flamenco , Sevillana ) since the 17th century, but is also known in southern Italy ( Naples ).

A similar function had the Krotalon in the ancient music and have the Chácaras in the Canary Islands.


Web links

Commons : Castanets  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
  • IGkK eV International Society for Artistic Kastagnettenspiel

Individual evidence

  1. Frederick Cook: The "Batteries" on the Spanish baroque guitar after Marin Mersenne. In: Guitar & Laute 1, 1979, 5, pp. 34-38; here: p. 37 f.