Tam-tam is the European name for gong (the only percussion instrument with the same name in Italian, French and German).

An ancient apparatus, it has universally spiritual connotations as a call to prayer, a summoning of the gods, a funeral rite. Gongs come in all sizes, but tam-tam usually refers to very large ones, frequently of Asian manufacture, with an indefinite pitch and a mind of their own. Once a gong is hit, the sound cannot be controlled. In practice, orchestral composers use the gong for evoking Asian ambience or simple majesty. Like the cymbal, the gong is always noticed.

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The first orchestral role for the tam-tam was in Rossini's opera Armida in 1817.