To produce a tremolo effect in folk music the tambourine is shaken with one hand.
In the orchestra the following methods are generally used:
- Shake roll: the tambourine is held vertically and in both hands in front of the body and shaken. Can be performed for any length of time and at all dynamic levels (from about mezzopiano).
- Thumb roll, friction roll: The percussionist moves his moistened thumb up the head from the bottom. The moist skin keeps sticking to the surface of the head and so moves upward in a series of small jerks which cause the jingles to vibrate. The result is a very dense and intensive roll which lasts about three seconds played forte and about eight seconds played piano. The dynamic levels are controlled by finger pressure and the tempo of the rubbing movement. This technique is especially suited for piano and pianissimo rolls. The roll can be prolonged, albeit with an unavoidable brief interruption, by returning the finger back to the bottom of the head in a figure-eight.
- Stick roll: beating the head with two hard sticks alternately. This roll is not so dense. With wood sticks every kind of roll is possible: tied trill, open roll, press roll and rapid single strokes.