A rainstick is a long tube that is hollow, with small sticks or other materials pushed inside so that it has a somewhat smooth surface on the outside, but small barriers inside. These can be in a lined pattern, for a specific sound, or placed at random for a more varied effect. It is then filled with a variety of different things, like small pebbles, or beads, or even rice, and the ends are capped to provide a seal. When turned upside down, these materials fall down through the tube, ricocheting off of the barriers to produce a soothing rain like sound.
The origins of rainsticks are not really known and so the stories are quite varied. Some people say that the ancient peoples of Chile created rainsticks from dried cactus, with the thorns taken off, pushed back inside and then filled with pebbles. These were then capped with pieces of wood on the ends and used in ceremonies to bring rain to their crops.
The Deaguita Indians survive even today, and they are still using them in many of their rain rituals. They also make them as musical instruments and many different people use them as such.
You can get different rain sounds, depending on how fast you turn the rainstick itself. Flipping the stick over quickly will produce a higher sound, turning it slowly will produce a deeper effect. How long the effect lasts depends on how long the instrument is. Usually they are about a foot in length, but they can be three feet or longer depending on what the tube itself is made from. The tube also affects the quality of the rain sound as well. If you make them from some kind of porous material, like cactus or bamboo, you will hear it better that if you were to make it from cardboard tubing.
A rainstick can be made from almost any kind of material and the types of things that you can use as fillings can be even more varied. You can even make your own rainsticks, and they are often part of school projects where they are used to help children learn the history of Indian tribes. Usually, these school projects are made using a hollow cardboard tube, like the core from a toilet paper or a paper towel tube. Tooth picks are then inserted, with the exposed ends snapped or cut off and glued in place. One end is capped off with poster board and filled with rice or beans, and then the other end is sealed.
Making a rainstick at home is not too difficult and there many websites providing details on how this can be done. They do not take long to produce, can be made by even young children with their parents’ supervision, and it can be a great family activity. For parents rainsticks can also make a very pleasing alternative to drums.
Article Source: EzineArticles.com/expert/Baz_Waters/321518
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