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Tambourines are a musical instrument that, along with different types of drums, are part of the percussion family. They can be held in the hand or mounted on a drum set in order to help provide rhythm in music. These percussion instruments are commonly found in many types of music.

What components make up a tambourine?

These musical instruments have three main components:

  • Head: This component refers to the surface or skin that you tap. Some instruments designed to be mounted on a drum set may not have this component. Skins can be made out of plastic or calfskin.
  • Shell: This component is the frame of the instrument. It has a number of slots around the sides. These are called the jingle slots, and they hold the jingles that actually make noise when shaken or tapped. The shell is most commonly made from wood, although some musical instruments are made from composite materials.
  • Jingles: These are tiny cymbals that make a sound when they strike each other. The jingles can be made from a variety of materials, including silver, copper, and bronze.
What types of tambourines are there?

Although tambourines all generally play the same role, there are several types that make slightly different sounds. These musical instruments all originated in different places:

  • Pandeiro: Originally from Portugal before being brought to Brazil, these musical instruments are similar to tambourines but with adjustable skin tension.
  • Riq: This musical instrument originated in Arabic cultures and features 10 pairs of jingles. It is also often known as a "shaker."
  • Buden: These percussion instruments are commonly found in Russia and Poland, among other cultures. They have a wood or metal frame while the jingles are often rings, cymbals, or miniature bells designed to keep rhythm.
  • Daf: These drums are from India, Iran, and Turkey and feature thick skins and five jingles.
  • Dayereh: Commonly found in Macedonia, Asia, and the Balkans, these midsized musical instruments are often made with goatskins and metal rings.
How do you maintain and care for a tambourine?

Wood tambourines do not require much maintenance. However, there are still things you can do to keep your musical instrument sounding great:

  • Head maintenance: If the drumhead is made from natural materials, like calfskin or goatskin, it can be extremely vulnerable to weather changes. To minimize the effect of weather changes, the musical instrument can be placed on a heating pad set on low heat just before playing it. The drumhead can also be protected by having it be coated in shellac.
  • Shell maintenance: You should routinely check for cracks in your wood tambourine. If a small crack is found, it can be glued shut.
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