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Woman with a tambourine on a French postcard, around 1910

The tambourine (German version of the French masculine diminutive tambourin from tambour , "drum", from Arabic ṭambūr ), which was borrowed into German in the late Middle Ages , is a single-headed frame drum with bells . Tambourines consist of a one-sided, using nails with animal skin (calf, goat skin) or plastic-covered, low cylindrical frame (hoop) made of metal or, more often, wood, with bells, mostly in the form of curved metal plates arranged in pairs (bells, cymbals ), are busy. The bell drum is widely used around the world, especially in dance and folklore, but is also used as an orchestral instrument.

Daira player - wall painting in the Tschehel Sotun Palace in Isfahan , 17th century

Regional species

  • The bell drum is called pandereta in Spanish and has a diameter of 17 to 22 centimeters in Spain, tambour de basque in French and tamburello (basco) in Italian .
  • The Catalan tamborí is a small double-headed one-hand drum that is played in combination with the flabiol by a single player (the tambourinaire) in the cobla , the sardana band.
  • The tambourine in Arab countries is called riq , in the Persian region daf and in Central Asia daira or similar.
  • The tamburello comes from Italian folk music . Carlo Rizzo's own further development is also played virtuously in jazz.
  • The pandeiro plays a central role in Brazilian folk music.

A similar instrument without a drum head is the bell ring or ring wreath, which is often erroneously referred to as a tambourine, because in the Anglo-American language all bell instruments are called tambourine . A tambourine is not to be confused with the Brazilian bell- less tamborim . The Tabor is a historical frame drum .

Style of play

The tambourine can be struck with fingers, palm, fist or mallet, whereby depending on the proximity to the frame, the short hard hit on the skin or the high clinking of the bells are in the foreground of the sound. When dancing, the tambourine is often hit against the elbow or knee. In addition, a longer ringing sound can be produced by shaking or rubbing your thumb over the eardrum, as with the bell ring.

Since its use in the romantic opera Oberon by Carl Maria von Weber in 1826 the tambourine was also occasionally used in classical music.


  • Jeremy Montagu, James Blades, James Holland: Tambourine. In: Grove Music Online , 2001

Web links

Commons : Tambourine  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Tambourine  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Friedrich Kluge , Alfred Götze : Etymological dictionary of the German language . 20th edition. Edited by Walther Mitzka . De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 1967; Reprint (“21st unchanged edition”) ibid 1975, ISBN 3-11-005709-3 , p. 768.
  2. ^ WH Worrell: Notes on the Arabic Names of Certain Musical Instruments. In: Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 68, No. 1, January-March 1948, pp. 66-68