Rainstick

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Rainstick
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sound of a rainstick
Classificationpercussion instrument
Hornbostel–Sachs classification112.13+133.1
(vessel rattle with friction)
Inventor(s)uncertain, some theories include: Peru, Aztecs, enslavened African slaves in North America
Related instruments
HoshoMaracasRainstickVibraslap
 
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Traditional style cactus rainstick
Rainstick
Sorry, your browser either has JavaScript disabled or does not have any supported player.
You can download the clip or download a player to play the clip in your browser.

sound of a rainstick
Classificationpercussion instrument
Hornbostel–Sachs classification112.13+133.1
(vessel rattle with friction)
Inventor(s)uncertain, some theories include: Peru, Aztecs, enslavened African slaves in North America
Related instruments
HoshoMaracasRainstickVibraslap

A rainstick is a long, hollow tube partially filled with small pebbles or beans that has small pins or thorns arranged helically on its inside surface. When the stick is upended, the pebbles fall to the other end of the tube, making a sound reminiscent of rain falling. It is designated 112.1+133.1 in the Hornbostel–Sachs classification system.

The rainstick is believed to have been invented by the Aztecs and was played in the belief it could bring about rainstorms. Rainsticks are usually made from any of several species of cactus. The cactuses, which are hollow, are dried in the sun. The spines are removed, then driven into the cactus like nails. Pebbles or other small objects are placed inside the rainstick, and the ends are sealed. A sound like falling water is made when the rainstick has its direction changed to a vertical position.

Two species of cactus used are: Eulychnia acida and Echinopsis pachanoi.

Rainsticks may also be made with other common materials like paper towel rolls instead of cactus, and nails or toothpicks instead of thorns and are often sold to tourists visiting parts of Latin America, including the Southern United States.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Nugent, Jeff. "Permaculture Plants, agaves and cacti" SARI Sept 2011