This week I've been reading an old book - Blue Highways, by William Least Heat Moon - which details a road trip around the U.S. in 1978. In an early chapter he describes an encounter with a man who "plays the bones." I searched for a video (if you stay to the 2:00 mark, you can also learn how to play a paper bag), and I found this at Wikipedia:
A critical element to playing the bones is not trying to force them to make contact with one another through finger manipulation but allowing their momentum to do the work. By moving the hand back and forth across the chest, with just enough force on the bones to keep them from falling out of the hand, a patient learner can produce a triple click. This "click-it-y" sound is the essential ingredient to playing the bones. A double-click can be produced by the same movement of the hand with the addition of a bit of pressure to the bones to suppress the third click. Once these elemental triple and double figures have been mastered, they can be combined to create complex combinations of rhythmic sounds. The effect is further enhanced by the use of two pairs of bones, one in each hand. A skilled practitioner can produce a wide variety of percussive sounds reminiscent of those made by a tap dancer.So far this has been a surprisingly entertaining and well-written book; I may review it later when I finish if I have time.