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Etymology and Alternative Spellings

Fr: tambour de Basque; Ger: Schellentrommel, Tamburin; It: tamburino, tamburello; Sp: pandereta, pandero

Similar Instruments
Pandeiro Brazilain
Tamburello - Italian; Similar to Brazilian Pandeiro


The modern orchestral tambourine is a shallow wooden single-headed drum. The shell of the drum contains numerous spaces in which pairs of metal disks, called jingles, are placed. The jingles can be made of different metals each one containing a different timbre. Some of the metals include silver, bronze, or steel. These disks are held in place by metal pins that are driven through holes in the centers of the disks and into the wood of the shell. The diameter of the drum is generally 10 inches but may range anywhere from 6 to 12 inches. There can be either one or two rows of jingles depending on what sound is required. The tambourine's head is typically made of animal skin but some are made with synthetic material as well. The head is attached to the shell through pins around the edge. The tension of the head is produced by the drying of the animal skin or increasing the tension evenly around the edge.


the orgins of the tambourine can be traced all the way back to around 500 BC. One of the earliest forms of the instrument was called a jingle-ring. This particular type of instrument did not contain a head over the top of the hoop. The body was made of either wood or metal and contained metal disks attached to it in order to make a sound when shaken or struck. It was not until the frame drum was used during the Middle Ages that one would see a more modern appearing tambourine. The tambourine was invented by adding metal disks, or jingles, to the outer edge of the frame drum. These instruments usually had four or more sets of jingles that were in groups of two pairs. The jingles then were alot thicker and smoothly concave rather than dome in shape. The instrument in its early uses was associated with dance and minstrel music of Europe. It continued to be used in folk music until its introduction into the orchestra in the middle to late nineteenth century.

Sticks, Mallets, Beaters



Stroke Style/Type


Black Swamp


Latin Percussion




Rhythm Tech


See Also