Strombus gigas
Strombus gigas
Charonia tritonis
Charonia tritonis
Cassis cornuta
Cassis cornuta

The shells, such as the previously mentioned Queen Conch (Strombus gigas), the Giant Triton (Charonia tritonis) and the Horned Helmet (Casis cornuta) come in various shapes and sizes. The bigger the shell, the lower the tone. On any given shell only a limited number of notes can be played. This means that a greater number of musicians are needed to play a melody.

Shells have been and still are used throughout the world for signalling and communication. At sea as a foghorn (eg. The Netherlands, France), at war as a call to battle (Japan), in religious ceremonies (India, Nepal), to ward off evil spirits (New Guinea) and at the birth or death of important tribal members (Oceania).