Cowbell A cowbell is a hand percussion instrument modeled after the real life bell that herdsmen placed around the necks of domestic cows. Typically made of brass or steel, cowbells are idiophones, which means they produce sound via the vibration of the entire musical instrument. Some cowbells contain clappers—a dangling pendulum inside the instrument. Clapper cowbells are popular in classical music, while clapperless cowbells are more common in rock, pop, and Latin music. Striking the metal bell with a wood cowbell beater (typically a standard drumstick) produces the idiomatic cowbell sound.

Cowbells are featured in a remarkably diverse array of musical genres, spanning both centuries and continents.

The cowbell is a percussion instrument used in both pop and Latin genres in contemporary music. The instrument is played by being struck on the exterior of the bell, often by a drumstick. The cowbell is capable of creating only one note, although the timbre varies. Though the cowbell can be played on its own, it is frequently used as part of a drum set.