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    Castanets

Castanets

Brief history

The castanet is an idiophone instrument made of two wooden shells connected by a string that latches them between the fingers. Upon pressing down with the fingers, the two shells move and hit each other, creating their characteristic click.

They date back to the B.C. period, likely originating in ancient Phoenicia, and then spreading throughout Mediterranean Europe. In Spain, the castanet evolved and persisted as a characteristic element of flamenco and other gypsy dances, and is now recognized as part of the cultural heritage of that country.

In the East, castanets are used in belly dancing, and go by a number of names: sagats in Arabic, and zill in Turkish. They spread throughout Latin America under the name crótolos in Chile, and chinchines in Argentina, whereas in ancient Brazil (castanholas), they were mainly used in the popular music and culture of Bahia, even appearing in the samba de roda.