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Sistrum [crepitaculum, platagē] (Lat., from Gk. seistron: ‘that which is shaken’; Fr. sistre; It., Sp. sistro)locked

  • James W. McKinnon
  •  and Robert Anderson


A sliding rattle in the shape of a spur (classified as an Idiophone). It consists of a ‘U’- or lyre-shaped form, often of silver, with a straight, usually wooden, handle protruding from the bottom. The ‘U’ is traversed by loose-fitting metal rods or wires which jingle when shaken. Frequently small loose discs are fitted on the rods to create additional sound. This is the form it retains when used in the ritual of the Ethiopian Church, where it is known as ...

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C. Sachs: The History of Musical Instruments (New York, 1940)