is Bob Dylan’s Mr. Tambourine Man Song inspired by the “Turkish frame drum” ?

bob dylan turkish drum
The Most Famous Tambourine of All Time The Inspiration for Dylan’s Song
It is a 17″ Turkish tambourine, about 4″ deep, with a sheepskin head and jingle bells around the edge, property of Bruce Langhorne, that Bob Dylan has said was the inspiration for the image in his song, Mr. Tambourine Man. It was on exhibition at The Experience Music Project in Seattle, the Morgan Library & Museum in NYC, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland, and the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis. On October 6, 2007 it was offered for sale in auction, but no bid met the reserve amount, so it was not sold…

Dylan has cited the influence of Federico Fellini’s movie La strada on the song, while other commentators have found echoes of the poetry of Arthur Rimbaud. Author Howard Sounes has identified the lyrics “in the jingle jangle morning I’ll come following you” as having been taken from a Lord Buckley recording. Bruce Langhorne, who performs guitar on the track, has been cited by Dylan as the inspiration for the tambourine man image in the song. Langhorne used to play a giant, four-inch-deep “tambourine” (actually a Turkish frame drum), and had brought the instrument to a previous Dylan recording session.



Bruce Langhorne, folk-rock singer-songwriter in NY scene, 1965 In the New York City folk-rock/singer-songwriter scene of the early-1960s, Bruce Langhorne was a session musician who played a large Turkish frame drum with pellet bells around the interior (credited on recordings as simply “tambourine“) on several recordings by Richard & Mimi Fariña, Bob Dylan, and others. Langhorne was not schooled in the technique of playing frame drum and developed his own way of striking the drum and obtaining timbres used in his work as a session musician.

sessions in early 1965, for Dylan’s Bringing It All Back Home album. Langhorne is heard throughout that LP, coming especially to the fore on “She Belongs to Me,” “Love Minus Zero/No Limit,” and “Mr. Tambourine Man.” As spelled out in the liner notes to Dylan’s box set Biograph, Langhorne is Mr. Tambourine Man. In the track commentary, Dylan is quoted as follows: “‘Mr. Tambourine Man,” I think, was inspired by Bruce Langhorne. Bruce was playing guitar with me on a bunch of the early records. On one session, (producer) Tom Wilson had asked him to play tambourine. And he had this gigantic tambourine. It was like, really big. It was as big as a wagon-wheel. He was playing, and this vision of him playing this tambourine just stuck in my mind. He was one of those characters…he was like that. I don’t know if I’ve ever told him that.”

source :



Fred Neil, Bruce Langhorne, Felix Pappalardi, and Jack Nitzsche Photograph courtesy of Fred Neil.


jingle jangle morning???

What is Tambourine

The tambourine is a musical instrument in the percussion family consisting of a frame, often of wood or plastic, with pairs of smallmetal jingles, called “zils”. Classically the term tambourine denotes an instrument with a drumhead, though some variants may not have a head at all. Tambourines are often used with regular percussion sets. They can be mounted, but position is largely down to preference.

Tambourines come in many shapes with the most common being circular. It is found in many forms of music: Turkish folk music,Greek folk music, Italian folk music, classical music, Persian music, gospel music, pop music and rock music.


Daire/Tef (Tambourine)

The Daire/Tef (tambourine) percussion instrument was used in various ways by the ancient civilisations in Anatolia, Mesopotamia and Egypts, and by those that followed, as well as by the Ottomans for both religious and secular purposes. It then moved on from those regions to Europe.



A daf is a large-sized tambourine used to accompany both popular and classical music in Iran,Azerbaijan, Turkey (where it is called tef), Uzbekistan (where it’s called childirma), India (where it is known as the Dafli) and Turkmenistan. Daf typically indicates the beat and tempo of the music being played, thus acts like the conductor in the monophonic oriental music. The Persian poetRudaki, who widely used names of the musical instruments in his poems, mentions the daf and the tambourine (taboorak) in a Ruba’i:

A common use of tambourine (Daf) is by Albanians. They are often played by women and bridesmaids in wedding cases to lead the ceremony when bride walks down the aisle

Compiled by Uğur Oral (Turkish Dylanista)

Special Thanks to  EDLIS Café

Find us on Facebook


One Comment

Leave a Reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.