One of the most common instruments used in Spanish music is a percussion instrument called the castanets. Traditionally, in certain kinds of Spanish dances such as the fandango and the flamenco, the dancer had a pair of wooden clappers - the castanets - in each hand. As the dancer stamped his (or her) feet on the floor (an important part of those kinds of dances) they would also click the castanets in a rhythm that would go along with the foot stamping.

Instruments similar to castanets were used in ancient Rome, as well as during medieval times. Today castanets are still used by dancers and actors - for example, in the opera "Carmen". They are also used by percussion players in the modern orchestra. These orchestral castanets are often mounted on flat bases for ease of playing.


Get an adult to help you with these steps!

Holding one lid on its side on the scrap board, position the nail close to the bottom rim on the side of the lid.
(see illustration A)

Gently hammer the nail (don't forget the safety goggles!) until it goes all the way through the cap and makes a hole big enough to slide the hair cord through it. (The scrap board underneath is to prevent the nail from going into the floor of your home....)
(see illustration B)
Handle the lid carefully, sometimes the nail going through it makes a jagged metal edge Make another hole in exactly the same way just about a half-inch away from the first. When you are finished they should look like this
(see illustration C)
Repeat steps 1 and 2 with the second lid With the scissors, cut the hair cord so that it is one long string rather than a loop Lining up the holes on the two upturned lids, thread the cord through the holes, pull it medium-tight and tie a double knot as shown
(see illustration D)


Get the help of an adult and follow Step A of the Hand Castanets - put a hole in one can (see illustration E)

Follow Step B of the Hand Castanets but with one exception - make the distance between the two holes about 1 inch.

Repeat Steps A and B with the second can.

With the scissors, cut both hair cords so that each one is a long string rather than a loop Again asking for help from an adult, staple one of the cords to the edge of the wooden base as shown in illustration F.

Use Safety Goggles! If the staple is not holding the cord tight, hammer the staple down a bit - again using Safety Goggles

Thread the cord through the holes in the can as shown in illustration G.

Pull the non-stapled end of the cord tight and staple it down (safety goggles) onto the base next to the first staple about an inch apart. The elasticity of the cord should hold the can up in the air at an angle. Again, hammer the staple tight if it needs it (...goggles...).

Repeat steps 5 through 7 for the second can until it looks like this (see illustration H)