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How to play bones, spoons & castanets

VirginiaTam 27 Aug 10 - 06:38 PM
Jeri 27 Aug 10 - 07:17 PM
McGrath of Harlow 27 Aug 10 - 07:22 PM
Paul Burke 27 Aug 10 - 08:05 PM
ChanteyLass 28 Aug 10 - 01:33 AM
Will Fly 28 Aug 10 - 03:56 AM
VirginiaTam 28 Aug 10 - 04:29 AM
VirginiaTam 28 Aug 10 - 04:44 AM
McGrath of Harlow 28 Aug 10 - 06:10 AM
GUEST,strad 28 Aug 10 - 08:17 AM
McGrath of Harlow 28 Aug 10 - 08:49 AM
r.padgett 28 Aug 10 - 09:11 AM
GUEST 28 Aug 10 - 02:43 PM
VirginiaTam 29 Aug 10 - 11:29 AM
VirginiaTam 29 Aug 10 - 03:01 PM
Herga Kitty 29 Aug 10 - 04:24 PM
Jack Campin 30 Aug 10 - 06:14 AM
VirginiaTam 30 Aug 10 - 01:30 PM
GUEST 30 Aug 10 - 02:54 PM
GUEST,Piers Plowman without cookie 31 Aug 10 - 09:07 AM
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Subject: How to play bones, spoons & castanets
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 27 Aug 10 - 06:38 PM

Recently purchased pair of bones and pair of wooden castanets.

Lets start with the bones. I am having some problems

1. The grip. - I've tried placing the anchor bone between thumb and index and between index and middle fingers. The first position I find the anchor bone is not aligned with the swinging bone. And it grows more out of line the more I try to create sound. In the second position the swinging bone keeps flying out from between middle and third finger.

2. The movement. I have been practising every evening and all day today but I rarely get sound (grip on swinging bone too loose). When I do get sound I cannot make it consistent, much less rhythmic. Tried turning the whole forearm side to side and flick the hand backwards.

Seems I get the best result when I am not thinking about it.

That's enough to be getting on with. I have tried Youtube videos. this one is pretty good but needs more time spent and better shots on holding and moving.

Any tips?


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Subject: RE: How to play bones, spoons & castanets
From: Jeri
Date: 27 Aug 10 - 07:17 PM

Works best for me in you 2nd position. My 3rd (ring) finger keeps the bugger from going too far astray, but it still can wander. I try to hold it close to the 'fixed' bone with that finger. If I just hold it so the flappy bone is about 1/3" from the fixed bone when my hand slowly turns so it's on the bottom, and touching when it's on top.

Other than that, it's like anything that requires repetitive movement without much thought: just keep repeating it, and try to relax.

I still suck, but I can get the sounds.


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Subject: RE: How to play bones, spoons & castanets
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Aug 10 - 07:22 PM

Whatever works. Experiment. You might find that holding the swinging bone between the little finger and the third finger might suit you better. Takes time, but then it's like ringing a bell - and in fact the movement involved is very similar to doing that.

To start with maybe don't worry about repeating the movement and getting a rhythm, but try to get a good single crack of the bones. And then do it again until it comes easier.


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Subject: RE: How to play bones, spoons & castanets
From: Paul Burke
Date: 27 Aug 10 - 08:05 PM

VT- gently.


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Subject: RE: How to play bones, spoons & castanets
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 28 Aug 10 - 01:33 AM

Can you get an experienced player to help you? I've seen Tim Reilly of Barnacle teach 3-4 college students the basics in less than 30 minutes. I've seen Elwood Donnelly of Atwater/Donnelly show young children the basics. Young people often learn more quickly than older people, and I don't know your age, but personal, individual instruction might help. I've been thinking of getting some bones for myself, but now I wonder . . . . Also, I wonder if bones players are good at using chopsticks. The fingers are different, but the principle is the same: one moves while the other stays still. Good luck! I hope you master this. Keep us informed.


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Subject: RE: How to play bones, spoons & castanets
From: Will Fly
Date: 28 Aug 10 - 03:56 AM

VT - you might be interested to see a clip of one of the best (two-fisted) bones players I know - Rob the Bones from Greg stephens' Boat Band. Here they are...

I know it's not instructional and Rob's not in close-up, but you can see how loose his wrist is and, in any case, the music's great!


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Subject: RE: How to play bones, spoons & castanets
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 28 Aug 10 - 04:29 AM

Will - thank you thank you thank you.... that link you provided, I picked up the bones and started playing along not too horribly. It then occurred to me that it was so much easier playing along with music. Who'd a thunk it? Playing along to music makes it easier.

Light bulb moment and the biggest belly laugh I have had in months.

Thank you and others.


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Subject: RE: How to play bones, spoons & castanets
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 28 Aug 10 - 04:44 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mU31eqwC3w4&feature=related

very slow detailed instrux at link above.


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Subject: RE: How to play bones, spoons & castanets
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Aug 10 - 06:10 AM

Once you've got the basic movement and grip more or less right the thing is to play along with music, not worrying about whether you get it right all the time while your hand is getting educated.

There are a whole range of variations in exactly how you hold them, and you can vary the sound by sliding the anchor bone forward or back, or adjust them so you beat at one end or two ends. And you can even hold them in different hands, when your wrist is tired, and play like a bodhran.

Now spoons ans castanets are a different matter entirely. I've never managed to work them.


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Subject: RE: How to play bones, spoons & castanets
From: GUEST,strad
Date: 28 Aug 10 - 08:17 AM

The MOST important thing with either spoons or bones is to listen to the music and pick up on the rhythm of the tune. What gives these items a bad name is when some clown just clatters away non-stop with no regard to the music. You're playing a rhythm instrument so make it sound interesting.


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Subject: RE: How to play bones, spoons & castanets
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Aug 10 - 08:49 AM

"You're playing a rhythm instrument "

I wouldn't put it that way. Obviously it is a rhythm instrument, but basically, as with a bodhran, you aren't playing so much thinking about rhythm, rather you're thinking about the tune.


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Subject: RE: How to play bones, spoons & castanets
From: r.padgett
Date: 28 Aug 10 - 09:11 AM

Pity you were not at Saltburn or Whitby ffs

Bert Draycot is (he says) World Spoons champ and a proper turn too!

"Dame" Patty Smith EPNS is a fine spoons player too (from Wales)

Ray


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Subject: RE: How to play bones, spoons & castanets
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Aug 10 - 02:43 PM

For Bones go here :-
Jeff Lefferts
or here
Bone Dry Musical Instrument Co.
or here
Rhythm Bones Central

for spoons go here :-
MusicalSpoons
or here
Playing Spoons

if it works for you - that's the way to play them!

regards
Jake


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Subject: RE: How to play bones, spoons & castanets
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 29 Aug 10 - 11:29 AM

woohoo! thanks Jake... I changed to the between thumb and index finger (anchor) and between middle and third fingers (swinging) and wow what a difference. this puts the bones with 2 fingers (index and middle) between. That little slow mo clip of the arms action very helpful too.

Been practising with both hands off and on (more on) all day. I am getting there. Shoulders and fore arms ache a bit and getting sore between the fingers from the edges of bones. But I am getting there.


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Subject: RE: How to play bones, spoons & castanets
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 29 Aug 10 - 03:01 PM

ouch... have to hide the bones... they are addictive and I have more than niggling little pain in my right arm now.


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Subject: RE: How to play bones, spoons & castanets
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 29 Aug 10 - 04:24 PM

For fun, here's Bert Draycott's illustration of spoon techniques....

Kitty


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Subject: RE: How to play bones, spoons & castanets
From: Jack Campin
Date: 30 Aug 10 - 06:14 AM

I recently discovered a kind of round castanet that you can play by placing them on a table and beating them them with your fingers. (Can't do that with the traditional Spanish design). I don't know what their intended use is - schools maybe? If you have some experience in playing drums with your fingertips or fingering woodwind instruments, this gives you a head start - the rhythms are just there, no need to think about what gymnastic motion might be needed to land on the beat. I used these a few times at Whitby, some people on this thread might have seen me. The downside is that you need a flat surface to sit them on. One stall had Whitby had a box of plastic ones for sale (varying a lot in sound and quality).

A few weeks ago we had a band from Majorca come into Sandy Bells. One of their instruments was a huge and incredibly loud set of castanets - they had built-in resonating chambers. Each one was the size of your fist. I'd never seen those before.


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Subject: RE: How to play bones, spoons & castanets
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 30 Aug 10 - 01:30 PM

thanks for the info... ouch my forearms are still aching and I am still addicted to playing the bones. put on some elastic bands to stop them slipping out of my hands.


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Subject: RE: How to play bones, spoons & castanets
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Aug 10 - 02:54 PM

VirginiaTam said :-

thanks for the info... ouch my forearms are still aching and I am still addicted to playing the bones. put on some elastic bands to stop them slipping out of my hands.
************************************
If you rub the bones with candle wax wheere they pass between your fingers that will help.

Jake


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Subject: RE: How to play bones, spoons & castanets
From: GUEST,Piers Plowman without cookie
Date: 31 Aug 10 - 09:07 AM

Subject: RE: How to play bones, spoons & castanets
From: Jack Campin
Date: 30 Aug 10 - 06:14 AM

"I recently discovered a kind of round castanet that you can play by placing them on a table and beating them them with your fingers. (Can't do that with the traditional Spanish design). I don't know what their intended use is - schools maybe?"

I read something about castanets like this recently: I can't remember whether it was a book about percussion or a catalogue. I think they're for percussionists who might be playing other instruments as well.

I started practicing drum rudiments a couple of months ago: talk about addictive!


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