In the orchestra the tambourine performs rhythmic and tonal tasks which generally serve the creation of moods suggestive of folklore, gaiety, dancing, ecstasy etc. It plays solo dance rhythms and accentuates and adds noisy brightness to the overall sound of the orchestra.
Tambourine + other percussion instruments
As a rule the tambourine combines well with the other drums (snare drum, tenor drum and bass drum) and with metallic-sounding percussion instruments. The snare drum and triangle together with the tambourine produce a diverse composite noise that adds substance to tutti passages.
The combination with the mallet-played instruments (xylophone, marimba) produces a familiar sound image. With wood percussion instruments such as the castanets, wood blocks, temple blocks, slit drum and all the others that require a short, sharp attack, a broad spectrum of subtle sound and noise effects is possible.
Tambourine + woodwinds / strings
The tambourine can join the woodwinds and lend them a bright, noisy element resulting in a composite sound reminiscent of dance music. Trills, tremolos and rapid rhythmic sequences are reinforced by the tambourine’s roll.
Col legno playing on the strings is further accentuated by the tambourine.
Excellent effects can also be achieved with the piano.