castanets

castanets [kas΄tə nets′]
pl.n.
Fr castagnette (sing.) < Sp castañeta, dim. of castaña < L castanea, CHESTNUT: so named from the shape
a pair of small, hollowed pieces of hard wood, ivory, etc., held in the hand by a connecting cord and clicked together with the fingers to beat time to music, esp. in Spanish dances

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      percussion instrument of the clapper family, consisting of two hollowed-out pear-shaped pieces of hardwood, ivory, or other substance hinged together by a cord. Castanets are usually held in the hand and struck together. They are played in differently pitched pairs by dancers primarily in Spain, the Balearic Islands, and southern Italy. In Spain castanets may be used to accompany classical or folkloric dances. Typically, in the classical playing style, pairs of castanets are attached to each thumb; a simple rhythm is performed on the left-hand pair, while the higher-pitched right-hand pair plays a more complicated rhythm. In the folkloric playing style, they are attached to one or more fingers on each hand, both pairs are larger and lower-pitched than those used in the classical playing style, and rhythms are produced by flicking them with the wrists against the palms.

      Orchestral castanets, which are generally used to enhance the Spanish flavour of a piece, are attached to handles and shaken or are fastened to a block of wood and played with the fingers or drumsticks. Similar instruments—often boot-shaped—were played by the ancient Greeks (krotala), Romans (crotala), and Egyptians and may have been introduced to Spain through ancient Phoenician colonization or, in their pear-shaped form, by the Moors.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Castanets — Cas ta*nets, n. pl. [F. castagnettes, Sp. casta[ n]etas, fr. L. castanea (Sp. casta[ n]a) a chestnut. So named from the resemblance to two chestnuts, or because chestnuts were first used for castanets. See {Chestnut}.] Two small, concave shells… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • castanets — ► PLURAL NOUN ▪ a pair of small concave pieces of wood, ivory, or plastic, clicked together by the fingers as an accompaniment to Spanish dancing. ORIGIN Spanish castañeta little chestnut …   English terms dictionary

  • castanets — [kas΄tə nets′] pl.n. [Fr castagnette (sing.) < Sp castañeta, dim. of castaña < L castanea, CHESTNUT: so named from the shape] a pair of small, hollowed pieces of hard wood, ivory, etc., held in the hand by a connecting cord and clicked… …   English World dictionary

  • castanets — [[t]kæ̱stəne̱ts[/t]] N PLURAL: also a pair of N Castanets are a Spanish musical instrument consisting of two small round pieces of wood or plastic held together by a cord. You hold the castanets in your hand and knock the pieces together with… …   English dictionary

  • castanets — castanetas, castanuelas исп. [кастанье/тас], [кастаньюэ/лас] castagnettes фр. [кастанье/т] castagnetti ит. [кастанье/тти] castanets англ. [кастэнэ/тс] кастаньеты …   Словарь иностранных музыкальных терминов

  • castanets — noun /ˌkæs.tə.ˈnɛts/ A percussion instrument (idiophone) consisting of a pair of concave shells joined on one edge by a string, held in the hand and used to produce clicking sounds …   Wiktionary

  • castanets — Synonyms and related words: battery, bells, bones, celesta, chime, chimes, clappers, crash cymbal, cymbals, finger cymbals, gamelan, glockenspiel, gong, handbells, idiophone, lyra, maraca, marimba, metallophone, orchestral bells, percussion,… …   Moby Thesaurus

  • castanets — cas|ta|nets [ˌkæstəˈnets] n [plural] a musical instrument made of two small round pieces of wood or plastic that you hold in one hand and knock together, used especially by Spanish dancers …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • castanets — cas|ta|nets [ ,kæstə nets ] noun plural a Spanish musical instrument consisting of a pair of small round pieces of wood or plastic held in one hand and brought together quickly to make a CLICKING sound, used especially by dancers …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • castanets — n. small hand held percussion instruments cas·ta·net || ‚kæstÉ™ net n. small hand held percussion instrument …   English contemporary dictionary

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