Last updated: 16/10/2022

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Today is the day to know which are the best tambourine models that are available for purchase on the national market at 2022.

The pandeiro is a musical instrument much loved by Brazilians. It is known for its presence in samba and pagode. But because of its size and flexibility, it is used in many different musical rhythms.

But not all pandeiros are the same. Some details make all the difference. Are you curious? Want to know more? Then, keep reading and find out what are the main features of this product. This way, you will not regret your purchase!




Summary

  • To choose the ideal pandeiro, take into account what material its skin is made of, whether synthetic or natural. Depending on this, the sound will be more or less bass.
  • Pandeiros can range in size from 8 to 14 inches. The larger ones require greater skill from the musician. Instruments with 10 or 12 inches are best for beginners.
  • Pandeiros are very versatile instruments. With them you can play samba, pagode, funk, baião and much more.

The Best Tambourine: Our Picks

Buying Guide

Whether it’s to liven up that weekend barbecue or to join in with your friends’ pagode group, the pandeiro is an instrument that will do in any situation.

Depending on the rhythm you want to play, some models of pandeiro are more recommended than others. That’s why, in this guide, we’ll show you the importance of the quality of the skin and also the cymbals or knuckles.

Duas meninas tocam um pandeiro cada uma. Elas olham uma para outra.

The pandeiro is a musical instrument widely used in Brazil. (Source: stylephotographs / 123RF)

What is the pandeiro?

Pandeiro is the name given to a percussion musical instrument consisting of a wooden rim covered with a kind of skin. Around this rim, metal circles, known as cymbals, are installed.

In general, the pandeiro is a circular instrument. Everyone recognizes the sound emitted by a pandeiro. It is essential, for example, when playing samba. But in the hands of a good musician, the pandeiro becomes an instrument capable of performing in the most diverse rhythms.

Pessoa em frente de vários instrumentos musicais. Em primeiro plano, um pandeiro.

The sound of the pandeiro is present in various musical rhythms, including pagode, samba and funk. (Source: Pixabay / Pexels)

This is because the pandeiro is versatile. In addition to pagode and samba, it can be heard in music of various styles such as choro, funk, coco, baião and maracatu, among others.

There are several ways to play the pandeiro. Most of the time, one hand holds the instrument while the other hits it with the wrist, fingers or palm, doing the percussion.

The sound of the pandeiro can be long, short, flowery or dry. This will depend on how the musician strikes the instrument.

The sound that is emitted can be long and flowery or short and dry. This will vary depending on the way the hand is struck. With the beats, the knuckles also move.

Another way to make a sound with the pandeiro is just to shake it. This way, only the knuckles produce the sound.

What are the parts of the pandeiro?

See what the main parts of a pandeiro are:

  • Rim. Made of steel.
  • Skin. Can be natural, goatskin, or synthetic, nylon, formica or acrylic.
  • Stretcher assembly. Composed by ring, fixing screw of the table and others
  • Platinelles or Sockets. Circular metal plates
  • Baffle. Plate placed between the cymbals.
  • Accessories. Key for tuning, key to remove the cymbals’ pin and others.

What is the “family” of the pandeiro?

The pandeiro belongs to the family of membranophone instruments, the body drums. This means that the sounds are produced by means of the vibration of a membrane. This part may be stretched over a support.

In general, these instruments have the shape of an open box and are covered by animal skins, acetate, canvas or synthetic materials. The pandeiro is the best known member of this family which also includes instruments such as the bongô, tamborim, cuíca, surdo, bumbo, atabaque, caixa and tantã.

In this video, you can see the different percussion instruments and hear the sounds they are capable of playing.

Where did the pandeiro come from?

The pandeiro is an ancient instrument. There are records of its use since Neolithic times. It has always been popular in Asia, Africa and Europe. According to historians, the Arabs brought it to the Iberian Peninsula many centuries ago.

One of the oldest records of the pandeiro is its presence in the famous tales of the Thousand and One Nights. In some passages, odalisques appear and are portrayed playing this instrument.

It was brought to Brazil by the Portuguese. It gained fame when it became the instrument of samba and is also present in capoeira presentations.

Which pandeiro suits each rhythm?

When buying a pandeiro, you should pay attention to some important points. Everything will depend on the musical style you intend to play with this musical instrument.

For each rhythm, a characteristic of the pandeiro will be more important or at least stand out.

To choose the pandeiro, the ideal is to first know the rhythm that will be played.

For those who are going to play samba, preference should be given to a large pandeiro capable of emitting loud sounds. On the other hand, those who intend to play pagode should choose an instrument with a thicker skin, which will facilitate the emission of dry and low sounds.

If the objective is to play choro, the skin cannot be synthetic, but natural. In the case of use in capoeira rodas, choose pandeiros that have cymbals with wider gaps, which allow for plenty of rattling.

These are just a few examples. The tip is to always choose the pandeiro that is most appropriate for your objectives.

Did you know that a percussion instrument is one that produces sound after some agitation, impact or scraping?

This can happen with the use of the hands or with the help of drumsticks. Percussion instruments, in most cases, have undetermined pitch, that is, tuning is not precise. Even because of this, they have a rhythmic function.

Leather or synthetic pandeiro?

Pay close attention to the material of which the pandeiro’s skin is made. This is a fundamental point. To choose between synthetic material and leather, you must think about how this product will be used.

Leather pandeiros are lighter and suitable for any musical style. The sounds are more bass. Climatic factors, such as humidity, may interfere in the tuning.

The pandeiros with synthetic skin, on the other hand, do not have such a deep sound, but have great power and volume. They are heavier and are used mainly for rhythms such as samba and pagode. The durability is longer and is not affected by changes in humidity. This type of skin can have patterns, be transparent or have holographic effects.

Leather Synthetic leather
Weight Lighter Heavier
Sounds More bass, suitable for all musical styles Less bass, suitable for styles such as samba and pagode
Durability Less. Climatic factors may interfere Bigger. Climatic factors do not interfere.

How much does it cost?

One of the points that can influence the price is the size. This type of instrument ranges in size from 8 to 14 inches. The larger ones are more expensive.

The material and the quality of the skin that covers the product also make the price vary.

Homem segurando uma garrafa de cerveja em uma mão e pandeiro em outra.

To choose the ideal pandeiro, take into account what rhythm you intend to play. (Source: Wavebreak Media Ltd / 123RF)

Purchase criteria: Factors to compare pandeiro models

When it is time to buy a pandeiro, some points are fundamental so that you can compare the models and choose the one that is ideal for you:

  • Skin material
  • Size
  • Cymbals
  • Ring type

We will talk in detail about each of these items in the following, so you can make the best decision and get out there making a quality sound.

Skin material

When buying a pandeiro, the skin material is an important purchase criterion.

There are two options: pandeiros made of leather and those made of synthetic material, which can be formica, nylon or acrylic.

Both types have advantages and disadvantages, as mentioned above in the Buying Guide. Choose the one that best fits your expectations.

Size

The size of pandeiros varies between 8 and 14 inches. Larger instruments are heavier and will demand more skill from the musician. The hand support needs to be firmer.

Another difference you can take into account is that the bigger the pandeiro, the fuller the sound will be. Experts say that for those who are just starting to learn, the most suitable size is 12 inches.

Cymbals

The cymbals, also known as knuckles, are components that help the sound of this instrument. This way, the more cymbals the producer has, the more sound will be produced.

Some models have three cymbals, with two pieces at the ends and one in the centre. Others have up to five cymbals. There are also models with double cymbals.

Also check the material they are made of. The copper cymbals bring a more balanced sound.

Type of rim

The main pandeiro models can be found with two types of rim: straight or round. The rounded type is more comfortable and tends to hurt less the hand of the musician who is using the instrument.

(Source of the highlighted image: LucianoRaul / Pixabay)

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