The tam-tam is used to add a particular timbre to the overall sound of the orchestra or to provide accents. The instrument’s sound is very conspicuous and should therefore be used with care.
Tam-tam + other percussion instruments
A good blend of percussion instruments is achieved especially by those with a deep and dark sound such as the bass drum, gong, timpani etc.
However, the tam-tam can also add bass to the high, metallic timbre of instruments such as the cymbals, triangle, tambourine, bell-tree, bells, etc.).
Tam-tam + brass instruments
Trumpets and trombones combine especially well with the tam-tam and the timbre becomes more penetrating and more metallic, although it can also sound more threatening.
Piano tones can also achieve a good blend with mellow-sounding brass such as the horns.
Tam-tam + woodwinds, strings
Piano tones can achieve a good blend with low woodwinds such as the bassoon and with low strings such as the cello and the double-bass.