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The links for the 22 pages in this Tools & Crafts section
Rattles (Snakes) &
I just learned about this on a forum
for bluegrass musicians so I did a search and found the following
quote on www.luckymojo.com/rattlesnake.html.
It sounds shamanistic... has anyone ever heard of this?
The rattler has a reputation for
bravery because it warns its victim before it strikes.
My favorite use for rattlesnake rattles
is the Appalachian fiddle-players' custom of placing them in
one's instrument before entering a fiddle contest. Even folks
who do not believe the rattles will help them win a contest
may add a rattle to their fiddle to make it "sound better."
The origin of this belief is unknown, but it is quite commonly
encountered, even to the present day.
In the South, rattlesnake rattles
are sometimes placed in guitars for the same reason.
In 1999, James Beverly (firstname.lastname@example.org),
who had purchased some rattles from me to use in his instruments,
wrote with this information:
I just got back from the music
festival in Owensboro, KY. A lot of elder (over 70) fiddle players
from Appalachia were there and I asked about the rattlesnake
rattles in the fiddles (which most had).
Here were the responses:
1) All mentioned that the rattles inside "sang along"
with the music giving it a better & sweeter sound.
2) One wonderful old gentleman from North Carolina said that
his grandfather told him that "way back, the fiddle used
to be a woman's instrument and putting the rattles inside 'masculinizes'
it for men folk to play".
To correspond with musicians about
the folkloric use of rattlesnake rattles in fiddles, see Phil
Campbell's Rattlesnakes and Fiddles page.
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