Hand percussion instruments, by definition, use the hands to create sound and are popular in all cultures throughout the world. They can be made from wood, metal, fibreglass or plastic and are usually shaken, scraped, or tapped with fingers or a stick.
The shaker can be any container that holds beads or seeds or similar items and generates a sound when shaken. Shakers take on all forms of shape and sizes and modern shakers are often cylinders made from metal, wood or plastic.
The güiro has ridges around the surface of the instrument and sound is made by scraping a stick across the notches. The musician mixes short and long strokes to create a rhythm.
Originating in Latin America maracas traditionally contained dried seeds. Players hold the maracas by their handles, usually one in each hand, and shake them to produce sound. Although a simple instrument, they require a little practice to play them in time to the music. Maracas are a versatile percussion instrument used throughout Caribbean and Latin music, and Western music as well.
The cabasa has loops of chain wrapped around a wide cylinder with the cylinder fixed to a wooden handle, and generates a metallic, rattling sound when shaken or swivelled. The casaba is commonly used in Latin music and often used in Latin jazz. Placing one hand lightly around the chain and twisting the cylinder with the wooden handle will enable the musician to create a wide range of rhythms on the casaba.
The plenera comprises a set of three small drums of different sizes, hit with beaters.
The castanet consists of a pair of "shells" linked at one edge by a short piece of string, traditionally they were made of wood but fibreglass is becoming more popular. The player uses two pairs of castanets, one pair in each hand, with the string hooked over the thumb. The shells rest in the palm of the hand with the fingers bent to support the exposed shell. The shells of each castanet are clicked together to generate rapid staccato sounds.