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date: 14 November 2019


  • John M. Schechter


Small spherical bell of Spain and the New World, where it is sometimes called a ‘hawk’s bell’. Cascabeles are worn by dancers or tied to the end of a stick which is shaken. Among North American tribes, they are sometimes worn on ceremonial costumes to enhance the rhythm of the dance. Pellet bells were brought to the New World by Europeans, but similar pre-Contact bells were made of clay and metal. The Maya people of Central America had metal pellet-bell rattles (tzitzmoc) which were associated with Ah-Puch, the god of death. Metal pellet bells are indigenous to parts of Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador. In Cuba, bands of cascabeles and other small bells are tied around both heads of the largest drum of the Lucumí cults, and the pandero of Ésú Eléggua has cascabeles attached in the soundbox. Among the Mapuche people of southern-central Chile shamans use cascabeles (...

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