Definition and background:
Small, hand-held instrument made of concave shells of ivory or hard wood used by Spanish dancers to accompany dances such as the bolero, cachucha, etc. with a sharp clapping sound. a percussion instrument, consisting of two hollowed-out wooden shells, which are played by clicking them together with the fingers. used by Spanish dancers. When used in an orchestra, castanets are usually mounted on a small stick to they can be shaken together more easily
Or bones. A pair of wooden instruments that are held in the hand (between the thumb and forefinger) and are clicked together in rhythm.
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Wikipedia - Glossary of Musical Terminology
Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary
ORB -- Medieval Music Glossary