Make Your Own Musical Instruments by Muriel Mandell and Robert E. Wood

An excerpt from the children's book Make Your Own Musical Instruments by Muriel Mandell and Robert E. Wood.

MAKE YOUR OWN MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS. By Muriel Mandell and Robert E. Wood. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., 1972.

About the book: For children, this book provides simple-to-follow directions for making musical instruments out of materials you can find around the house. Included are flower-pot bells, lamb-chop-bone rattles, wire-hanger harps and 100 other ingenious instruments.

From the book: Here are directions for making a bone rattle: The Indians made dance rattles from buffalo and deer claws and hoofs. But the round bones of lamb chops make an effective bone rattle and can be put together with few tools.

You'll need from 4 to 6 of these little bones; each shoulder chop has only one. Clean off the meat thoroughly and dig out the marrow from the center. Soak the bones in hot water and detergent to get rid of all the grease. Then dry them out in the sun. Usually the bones have a handsome ivory look and need no further decoration. If they are discolored or if you prefer a highly colored rattle, you can paint each bone a different bright color.

With their ready-made center holes, the bones are easy to attach to a ring made from a wire hanger. Unwind the ends of the hanger so that you have a long length of wire. Break off a 10" or 12" piece by bending the wire back and forth at the same spot until it snaps. Don't touch the broken ends for a few seconds--they will be hot from the friction. Then thread the bones on. Wind the ends of the wire around each other, with the help of pliers if necessary, and make a short handle. Wrap any sharp points with colorful tape.

Hold the rattle by its taped ends and shake away. Try shaking it slowly side to side for a "change of pace." You can make the rattle louder by mounting it on a wooden base. Sand down and shellac a slab of scrap wood. Wedge a nail through the 2 wire-bound ends and hammer it to the wood.

Pop top castanets: For dancing fun, soda pop bottle tops make fine castanets. Each castanet requires a narrow strip of heavy cardboard about 6" long, some thin string or yarn and 2 bottle tops. Plan to make 2 castanets at a time.

Drill or punch a tiny hole through the center of each of the bottle tops. Then make similar holes 1" from each end of the cardboard.

Place each bottle top, face down, over a cardboard hole. Push string through the holes, with the help of a needle if necessary. Draw the ends of each string together and knot them so that the bottle top is attached tightly.

Center the cardboard in your palm with your thumb and one finger on the bottle caps. When you bring your fingers together the 2 caps strike one another and you are ready to tap out a Spanish dance. To make the castanets more colorful, crayon both sides or paste bits of foil or construction paper on the cardboard.

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