What the Heck are Rhythm Bones?
A few fun facts about our favorite musical instrument.
Some folks say the bones are the world's oldest musical instrument. Whether that's wishful thinking or not, musical clappers (a type of musical bones—and the first musical instrument documented in the Egyptian historical record) date back to at least the fourth millennium BC (6,000 years ago).
The heyday for musical bones was during the American Minstrel Era, roughly 1843 to 1900. If we include the amateur period, then the epoch spanned well over 100 years.
Rhythm bones are made from various materials, typically natural ribs, shin bone and wood. Other materials include ivory, metal, plastic and slate.
Playing the Bones...
Yours truly rattlin' away with marvelous musicians in various musical genres including Willow Creek (gospel & bluegrass), Carl Anderton (minstrel), Carolina Chocolate Drops (minstrel), Banjo Billy and friends (old-time), Bottoms Up Blues Gang (blues), "Blind Boy" Paxton (minstrel), Bones Fest XI (minstrel) and XIII (Irish), Christine Breen & Roger Netherton (old-time), Raw Earth (urban tribal), Gum Springs Serenaders (minstrel), Ed Yother (Irish), Rich Egan (ragtime), Jan Marra ("Brother Bones" style) and more...
Bones sightings are movies and tv shows with bones playing. Bones sightings are extremely rare...and fun to discover! They're a little like finding an Easter egg. If you sight bones in a movie we can add to the list, please send a video link.