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Two pairs of Australian Aboriginal clapsticks
Didgeridoo and clapstick players performing at Nightcliff, Northern Territory

Clapsticks or clappers are a type of drumstick, percussion mallet or claves that belongs to the idiophone category. It serves to maintain rhythm in Aboriginal voice chants. Unlike drumsticks, which are generally used to strike a drum, clapsticks are intended for striking one stick on another.

As an ancestral instrument that may traditionally accompany the didgeridoo, it is sometimes referred to as the musicstick or just stick. In the language of the Yolngu Aborigines of Northeast Arnhem Land, near Darwin, Australia these clapsticks are called bimli or bilma.

Traditional didgeridoos (Yidaki) are made from long branches hollowed out by termites.[citation needed] They can be individually decorated, and there is no standard size.

Boomerang clapsticks[edit]

Boomerang clapsticks are similar to regular clapsticks but they can be shaken for a rattling sound or be clapped together.


The usual technique employed when using clapsticks is to clap the sticks together to create a rhythm that goes along with the song.

See also[edit]