From Graciela's Notes

In French it is called tambour de basque, in Italian, tambourino and in German, Schellentrommel. It is a popular instrument of Spanish origin and consists of a single drumhead bordered by a shallow wooden ring with a number of metallic jingles. Today you can also find them made of a metal ring only. This instrument can be played in a variety of ways: shaking thumping, plunking, clicking and striking against the knee, the opposing hand or any part of the body. Often it is decorated with bright, colorful ribbons and can be played while dancing-very popular with Spanish dancers, especially flamenco, and in gypsy music and dancing. The sound produced by the drumhead is dry and short, with no resonance or reverberation. The drumheads can be made by a variety of skins and the instrument comes in a variety of sizes. There are some tambourines without a drumhead. Classic composers used the tambourine in their music, too. It was widely used by Bizet in the opera Carmen, by Rimsky-Korsakov in Capriccio Espagnol, Debussy in Iberia, and Ravel in his Rapsodie Espagnol. Even Igor Stravinsky used it in his ballet Petrushka when he directs the percussionist to drop a tambourine on the floor! It is said that a similar biblical instrument, called the timbrel, was shaken by women to attract male attention. One extant specimen, unearthed in Babylon and dating back to about 2700 B.C., has ten pairs of bronze jingles and is beautifully ornamented with precious stones. In the Bible Miriam, sister of Moses, used a timbrel during the Exodus from Egypt.

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