(or bell) a percussion instrument often used in latin music. Over the last number of years it is used more often in pop music to color the music. You'll often hear the cowbell played with strict quarter notes to lay a rhythmic foundation for the song. The cowbell gets its name from use with a cow. Yep, that's right. It was originally used around the cow's neck so that the owners could keep track of them. The cowbell comes in many different sizes and tones.