As important to magical rituals as music making, rattles have been shaken to make noise for thousands of years. The earliest rattles were dried seed pods--often gourds--that made a noise when shaken. Other materials were later used to make a resonating chamber in which the seeds or beads could be move and make noise.
One of the unique rattles is the Rainstick which is a long stick filled with tiny beads that sounds like the patter of rainfall as the drop in the rattle.
Other common rattle instruments are the Maracas played in pairs by Mariachi musicians.
Feathered and other decorated rattles were an important part of the dance music of many Native Americans.