Guide to Pandeiro

A Pandeiro is a type of hand frame percussion instrument that is popular in Brazil. It has a cylindrical shape, and it looks just like a tambourine. The only difference it has with the tambourine is that the Pandeiro’s head has adjustable tension. The Pandeiro is usually 8-12 inches in diameter; aside from that, it can only perform fewer jingles than its hand percussion counterpart.

In this article, we are going to give you a guide to the Pandeiro. They come from, what they are made of, and the type of music it is used in.

Brief History of Pandeiro

Even if the Pandeiro is often thought to be Brazil’s national instrument, however, it did not originate in the country. Experts believe that the Pandeiro was invented in Portugal where it was called the adufe. Portugal is the first place that travelers discovered and settled in South America, so they probably brought with them the earliest types of Pandeiro to Brazil and the whole continent.

What is a Pandeiro Made of?

The Pandeiro has a cylindrical frame that is typically made from wood or sometimes Formica, which is layers of plastic fused to create a solid surface. The Pandeiro is usually between 8-12 inches big in diameter. It has either a synthetic or natural skin that is stretched over the frame then set on a slightly bigger hoop which serves as the variable tensioning on the head. The Pandeiro has five to six pairs of small cymbals, which are called platinelas. These small cymbals are inserted in the gaps of a shallow frame, and they are often cupped to give them a shorter sustain.

The difference between Pandeiro and Tambourine

The most significant difference between the tambourine and the Pandeiro is that the tension in the head of the Pandeiro can be adjusted, whereas the tambourine has a fixed tension in its head.

The tambourine is mostly made with wood, and it has varying numbers and rows of jingles. Sometimes, the tambourine can be headless. On the other hand, the Pandeiro has a fewer set of jingles.

What type of music is a Pandeiro used for?

Just like the tambourine, the Pandeiro can also be used in any type of music you like; however, because of its distinctive sound, the use of Pandeiro will always add a South American flavor to the overall sound of your song. These are the specific styles of music that are usually associated with the Pandeiro:

  • Samba Music Style
  • Choro Style
  • Coco Music
  • Capoeira Music Style

What is the Best Pandeiro for Beginners?

If you are planning to get your own Pandeiro, we recommend that you buy a little above your budget. This is because good quality and carefully-made musical instruments can also be an important factor in improving your technique, style, and skill. Picking a good quality Pandeiro will give you a great reflection of your increasing skill levels; aside from that, it will not cause plateauing of your progress.