There's no family of instruments on Earth older than handheld percussion, and that's plain to see when you look at the history of castanets. Their use can be traced back through the music of the Roman Empire to cultures even earlier that that, which makes the humble pair of castanets a truly ancient instrument. Today, castanets are best-known for the lively contribution they make to Latin music and other genres with Spanish or Portuguese roots. But they're versatile enough to be found virtually anywhere, and even if you're an orchestral percussionist, you'll notice some castanets in this section that can add the perfect accent to your performance.
To go with the most traditional pair, you're looking for the Meinl Finger Castanets. Made in the traditional Flamenco style, their rosewood shells give them a full sound with cutting resonance that's easy to hear even in the busiest mix. For use onstage or in an orchestra, consider adding a handle with the Meinl Traditional Hand Castanets. Or, if you want to take the traditional castanet to a whole new level, check out the LP Castanet Machine and Meinl Castanet Machine - there's no faster or more precise way to play this traditional percussion instrument.
Of course, maybe you'd rather find an alternative way to get the classic castanet sound. In that case, take a look at the Meinl Cajon Ring Castanet. Far from a traditional pair of castanets, it's designed as an accessory that you wear on your hand. That makes it a sort of passive castanet, which can be heard when you strike a hand percussion instrument like a cajon, djembe, bongo or conga while you're wearing it. If you want to create a well-rounded percussion sound, the ring castanet is a fantastic way to do it.
One of the most surprising things about music is how the simplest instruments can often make the most distinctive and recognizable sounds. Castanets are the perfect example - after all, who doesn't know the lively sound of chattering castanets? No matter your musical style and whether you prefer you hold yours in your hand or mount them on a drum set, there's a pair of castanets waiting here for you.