minstrel: Re: bones

Edwin Hewitt brogoose at pe.net
Mon May 5 20:31:05 PDT 1997

At 09:41 PM 5/4/97 -0500, you wrote:
>Hope this helps.  I should - but I don't - know the history behind this
>instrument.  I do know that they are wonderful at events, they are easily
>played in any weather conditions, and they are remarkably portable.  They
>fit nicely inside a pouch or a boot, and a bit of percussion can add a lot
>at a bardic circle (if you have permission)!  They are also one of the few
>instruments that can be heard over the bagpipes!
>Can anyone shed any light on their history?

I only have heresay, but here's the say:
I am told that bones as an instrument were brought into the Americas by the
Scots-Irish, hence becoming a standard percussion instrument in "them thar
hills."   They were then taught by poor Irish to poor Blacks who added
different moves and rhythms.  The Blacks used a set of bones in each hand 
and then put a thin layer of sand on the floor.  They then did a "soft
shoe" rattlin' the bones and scratchin' up a rhythm on the sandy floor.  

I have no idea how accurate this info is, nor the antiquity of the instrument.

Full-time Idealist, Part-time Realist.

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