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INSTRUMENTS

Below are the Instruments used to create the Samba Carioca sound.

Read through to see which one might suit you. 

Surdo

pronounced (soor-doo)

The heartbeat of the bateria with deep base notes that form the foundation for the remaining instruments.

 

Around 14 to 24 inches in diameter with a depth of approximatively 50 cm it is one of the largest instruments within the Bateria so playing it requires both strength and stamina as well as a strong back.

 

Caixa

pronounced (cai-sha)

The Brazilian caixa is not to be confused with the the European snare drum.  It is often smaller measuring around 10-12 inches in diameter and 5-20cm in depth.

 

With tension rods going from one hoop to the other and a transparent uncoated surface it has a clear, high pitched and precise tone and can be played by being slung over the shoulder with a strap or resting on one arm.

pronounced (tam-boar-rin)

Tamborim

The Tamborim is the most lightweight and portable of all of the samba instruments but don't be fooled by its size.

 

With a diameter of 6-10 inches, its loud crack can be heard over the top of any Surdo.  Combine the sound with the special multi strand stick used to play it, the percussionist creates the illusion of a greater number of players.  With each strand of the stick striking at slightly offset beats, one player with a three strand tamborim stick, can give the effect of 3 players.

pronounced (ah-goh-goh)

Agogo

The agogo is an instrument of African origin (called "gankogui" from Ghana) comprised of two, three or even four, linked together conical shapes. 

 

Played with a stick to hit the bells, it takes great skill a repetitive coordination to play.  Great for dexterity and hand and eye co-ordination

pronounced (choc-a-lyoo)

Chocalho

The chocalho is a wand like instrument with cymbalettes either side.

Used with two hands it creates a powerful sound vital to maintaining the bateria swing and momentum and giving the dancers a recognisable beat to dance their samba no pe.

pronounced (tim-bauw)

Timbau

The Timbau originates from South-West of Brazil and was derived from the atabaque, a hand drum brought to Brazil from Africa.

 

Structured from plywood rather than solid wood it is very lightweight and within the bateria is used to play a set pattern that blends with the sound of the batucada. 

Cuica

pronounced (koo-wee-ka)

The Cuica is a Brazilian friction drum and is the most unique when it comes to percussion instruments with the sound created by rubbing a damp cloth across a bamboo stick protruding down the centre.

 

It is named after a small opossum in Brazil that makes a loud shrieking noise and is often compared to a laughing monkey.

Pandeiro

pronounced (pun-day-lroo)

The Pandeiro is a type of hand drum popular in Brazil, and which has been described as an unofficial instrument of that nation.

 

The drumhead is tunable, and the rim holds metal cymbalettes similar to the chocalho, which are cupped creating a crisper, drier and less sustained tone on the pandeiro than on the tambourine. It is held in one hand, and struck on the head by the other hand to produce the sound. Typical pandeiro patterns are played by alternating the thumb, fingertips, heel, and palm of the hand.   A Pandeiro can also be shaken to make sound, or one can run a finger along the head to produce a roll.

pronounced (he-pi-nee-kee)

Repinique

The Repinique is played with one stick and a bare hand. Its a medium size drum and is usually played by the head of the batucada ("mestre de bateria"). who converses with the whole band in unison and performs improvised solos.