The Tambourine


The tambourine is a percussion instrument with or without a head or skin pulled tight against a round frame which contains multiple pairs of small metal jingles, called "zils". Tambourines come in many shapes and sizes although the most common is circular. They are used in many forms of music including folk, jazz, classical, gospel, pop and rock.

Tambourine frames can be made from of range of different materials but the most common are wood and plastic; some tambourines dispense with the skin or head and simply retain the zils. 

Tambourines are most often held but can be mounted as part of a percussion set and there are several ways in which the tambourine can be played; shaking, tapping, stroking, hit with a stick, or hitting the tambourine against the leg, elbow or hip.

The Tambourine Roll
There are two common ways to create the tambourine "roll". The easiest method is to rapidly rotate the hand holding the tambourine back and forth, pivoting at the wrist at the same time. A more advanced and more difficult method is the "thumb roll", whereby the finger or thumb is moved over the skin or rim of the tambourine to produce a fast roll from the jingles on the instrument. This takes more practice, skill and experience to master.