I'm not sure if this is minstrel-era or not, but the price was right and it's now a part of my collection. It's a whopping 17'' in diameter! My initial thought was "how could it not be a minstrel tambourine with these dimensions!?", but I'll let the experts decide. It turned up at an estate sale in Illinois, and the woman I purchased it from was told at the sale that it is Italian, although nothing more was known about it, and there is nothing on the tambourine linking it to Italy. The rim is in good shape and could take a new head, but I'll probably leave it as is.
I did a pretty extensive search online for them. They must be pretty reclusive. Maybe that's why there are so few surviving tambourines we know of... there are a few collectors out there living in their parent's basement hoarding all of them. ;)
You might try getting in touch with this fellow.
Yes I thought of him too, Wes. He has a great extensive site and vast drum-specific knowledge.
I got in touch with Dr. Robinson and here is what he had to say:
He obviously knows his stuff! Great info!
When he says "It predates the minstrel music and would link up nicely historically speaking if that indeed were the case." I think by "it" he means the "the style of tambourine playing" he is taking about right before that in the previous sentence. That's a bit confusing- but i don't think he means that your tambourine predates minstrel music. I think he means the older upright position playing style commonly seen with larger tambourines predates minstrel... and also used with larger hand held frame drums.
Great that you contacted him! :)
I think he means the Italian/English Salon music era, not the style. The style never died out and is still common in a number of European music traditions.
Hey yeah you may be right about that John.
Yes that style is older, but is most definitely used (and truly needed once you get above 16" diamter) even today in tambourine/frame drum playing all over the world, not only in europe. Never went extinct. Many frame drums (tambourines without the jingles) are held and played vertically in the lap out of necessity once they pass a certain size. Unless the style includes twirlng, tossing/weighting up and down to sound the jingles like with the Daf.
Now I seriously doubt this is a minstrel era tambourine, but none the less a nice drum. As Strumelia said in her post, there are a number of large tambourines in the world. The staggered three sets of jingles does suggest either an Italian origin, or a larger orchestral tambourine as is used for Hector Berlioz's "Harold in Italy" and other evocative pieces. In my estimation, this drum likely dates from somewhere between the 1930's and the 1950's. It is a worthy piece and certainly deserves a good clean up and a new head.
LOL!!! With all humility, I have been playing and studying various tambourines and frame drums for over 40 years, have published academic articles, run a web site on them, and have over the years have done several appraisals and repairs on them. So yes, an expert I suppose!!
Yeah i was just pulling your leg about the tambourine expert. ;) But there must be a few out there, somewhere!
Hey, this is cool. Glad you commented on this Richard- and it's good to have a knowledgeable percussion person around here.
I also got a kick out of reading the blast-from-the-past posts from a few years ago. =8-o ...lolol