This membranophone instrument consists of a membrane stretched over a frame, without a resonance box, and is normally made of metal, acrylic or PVC.
Despite being small in size (it measures almost 6 inches in diameter), it has great projection and stands out from the rest of the percussion ensemble. To play it, the player holds the instrument with one hand and hits it with the other, using a bamboo, wood or plastic drumstick.
This instrument is indispensable in batucadas and in samba, and appeared with the emergence of samba schools in the 1920s. At that time, it had a vibrant, full-bodied sound and was made like a small wooden drum, with animal skin on one end. The rumors say that it was made with cat skin, but it is believed that this fact is a myth given the low resistance of cat skin, and that it was actually made with cow skin.
In the 1980s, it gained a new shape that created new possibilities for the instrument, giving the tamborim the popular layout that it maintains today: a metal body, plastic skin, and drumsticks made of flexible plastic.