Bones Playing

The bones are one of the world’s oldest musical instruments. Made of bone or wood, they are in essence two short, sightly curved sticks which are held in the palm of the hand and struck together. After the spoons, the bones have been perhaps the most important percussion instrument in the vernacular music traditions of the British Isles and North America.

A bones player

A bones player

In this workshop, we’ll be learning some of the basic techniques needed to play the bones, as well as examining ways of combining individual strokes to make rhythms that are appropriate to accompanying folk music.

Bones (wooden ones) will be provided for those who don’t have their own, and sets will be available to buy on the day.

Nick Hart is one of England’s most celebrated boners. He is also one of very few people making bones in the UK today, and the instruments provided for this session and for sale have all been hand made by him in his Essex workshop.

A set of Nick Hart's handmade bones

A set of Nick Hart’s handmade bones