The sistrum is an ancient percussion instrument. Type – idiophone.
The case consists of several metal parts. The main part resembles an elongated horseshoe. The handle is attached to the bottom. Holes are made on the side through which curved metal sticks are stretched. Bells or other ringing objects are put on the bent ends. The sound is created by shaking the structure in the hand. Due to the simple construction, the invention relates to instruments with an indefinite pitch.
In ancient Egypt, the sistrum was considered sacred. It was first used during the worship of Bastet, the goddess of joy and love. It was also used in religious ceremonies in honor of the goddess Hathor. In the drawings of the ancient Egyptians, Hathor holds a U-shaped instrument in his hand. During ceremonies, it was shaken so that the sound would scare Seth away, and the Nile would not overflow its banks.
Later, the Egyptian idiophone found its way to West Africa, the Middle East, and Ancient Greece. The West African variant features a V-shape and discs instead of bells.
In the XNUMXst century, it continues to be used in the Ethiopian and Alexandrian Orthodox churches. It is also used by followers of some neo-pagan religions in their celebrations.