What the Heck are Rhythm Bones?
"The Bones" in a nutshell
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 fifth 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.