The traditional melodies of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians are accompanied by rattles. The rattles maintain cadence within a song, directing singers to change from verse to refrain and dancers to begin dancing. The use of rattles in songs is complex, because different types of rattles are used for specific purposes, including singing to the deceased or for healing purposes. Musicians in the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians understand the rules governing the use of rattles before they use them in song. Unaccompanied rattles must be promptly handed over to a new owner, burned or buried.
Deer hooves, turtle shells, leather, fiber cordage, string, wire, silk moth cocoon, and hardwood such as red shank, manzanita, and chamise are some of the materials used in the rattle-making process. For the rattle to make a satisfactory noise inside, coyote seeds or small rocks may be used. Coyote seeds are manzanita seeds that have been eaten and recovered from a coyote’s scat. The small rocks placed inside the rattle are said to produce the sound of the earth.