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The tambourin is a Provençal dance accompanied by lively duple meter music.[1] It is so named because the music imitates a drum (tambour being a generic French term for "drum"), usually as a repetitive not-very-melodic figure in the bass. A small, two-headed drum of Arabic origin is also called the tambourin [de Provence] or tambour de Basque; it is mentioned as early as the 1080s and noted as the "tabor" in the Chanson de Roland). This was played together with a small flute known as the galoubet or flaviol.

Jean-Philippe Rameau included tambourins in many of his operas, such as Platée, Les Indes galantes, and Les fêtes d'Hébé. The last gained more fame in a keyboard arrangement from the E minor suite of his Pièces de Clavecin.[1] The tambourin was popular throughout the 18th century and can be found in Handel's Alcina and Gluck's Iphigénie en Aulide, among others.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Ewen, David (1959). "Tambourin". Encyclopedia of Concerto Music. New York: Hill and Wang. p. 505.