Percussion comes in many shapes and sizesâ€”so many, in fact, that some drummers go their entire careers without experiencing the full breadth of instruments available to them. If you love samba, pagoda and other Brazilian music, the tamborim is already a familiar drum to you. If it isn't, then it may be just the starting point for broadening your musical horizons. Used in many styles of Latin music, the tamborim comes from Portuguese and African roots. While samba and pagoda are some of its best-known applications, it's also heard in genres as diverse as chorinho, bossa nova and folklore rhythms such as cucumbi. It may be a small drum, but the tamborim has a rich history. A standard tamborim is six inches wide with a body made of wood, metal or plastic. Fitted with a nylon head, the tamborim is tightly tuned and produces a high, sharp timbre with very little sustain. There are no snares or jingles on a tamborim, keeping its sound pointed and snappy. This drum may be played with a single small drumstick or with a specialty percussion mallet composed of a tight bundle of sticks, as in the samba-batucada style. Less commonly, some tamborim drummers will also play bare-handed. Playing the tamborim is an expression of personality. Alternating between the primary groove, called the "carreteiro", and your own trademark melodic phrases, you create a rhythm that's as individual as your fingerprint. The tamborim's unique, penetrating sound allows these percussive melodies to be easily distinguished from other percussion. In one advanced playing technique, "virado," the drummer will quickly flip the tamborim upside-down to produce ghost notes and syncopated grooves. Like many drums, the tamborim is a surprisingly complex instrument that is easy to learn but challenging to master. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned veteran, putting your emphasis on technique will allow you to get the most out of this distinctive drum.