A brief description about Capoeira instruments:
uses many percussion instruments, including berimbau, the
pandeiro, and the atabaque. All the instruments together make
up the (band) of Capoeira.
These instruments are accompanied
by singing and sometimes clapping. The amount of instruments
and the order they are in vary from school to school, but
Capoeira Angola (traditional form of Capoeira) uses the following
instruments in order from left to right (if you are facing
3 berimbaus, pandeiro
Traditionally,Capoeira Regional (style originated in the 1930's)
Pandeiro, 1 berimbau,
pandeiro, people in
the circle clap.
However, most schools nowadays keep the same bateria for Angola
The most important instrument in Capoeira
is the Berimbau. The style and speed of the
play is decided by the tune/rhythm (toque),
which is being played at the time. The berimbau is one of
the oldest string instruments in the world, and was brought
to Brazil by the African slaves. It's made of a piece of wood
(verga/pau) about a metre and a half long
(alot of people use bamboo, but the proper wood to use is
biriba from Brazil). The wood is bent into an arc, and a wire(arame),
traditionally animal intestines, but now usually wire from
the inside of a car tyre, is attached to both ends to make
a kind of bow. A specially prepared gourd
(cabaša) is fitted to one end to act as a
resonator (it makes the sound louder). The berimbau player
holds the bow in one hand, and hits the string with a small
stick about 30 cm long (vaqueta) with the
other hand, which also holds a small shaker (caxixi).
Different notes are produced by pressing a big coin or stone
(dobrŃo) against the wire.
The berimbau plays three notes: open, closed and "buzz."
The open note is made by just hitting the arame without pressing
the dobrŃo or pedra against it, making a low tone. The closed
note is a higher pitch, and is made when the dobrŃo or pedra
is pressed against the arame. The buzz note is when
the dobrŃo or pedra is touching the arame, but not pushing
in. Other effects include moving the cabaša towards or away
from the player's stomach, making the "wah-wah" noise, and
using the caxixi.
In Capoeira Angola three types of
berimbau are used: Gunga or bass berimbau plays the base rhythm
(usually played by the master of the roda), the MÚdio or middle-pitched
berimbau plays the base rhythm with variations, and the Viola
or highest pitched berimbau improvises with the rhythm.
The berimbau is used in Capoeira
and Samba de Roda, and although it has been
used in other types of music (the Brazilian heavy metal group
Sepultura uses it sometimes), many people say that you can't
have Capoeira without a berimbau, and you can't have a berimbau
The Pandeiro is a Portuguese tambourine
with a skin and flat jingles (the little cymbals that go around
the side). It is the second most important instrument in Capoeira.
If you are only going to have two instruments for Capoeira
they should be a berimbau and a pandeiro.
The pandeiro is almost a hand held
drumset because it can make hihat, snare, and kick sounds.
The bass note is made by hitting the skin close to the rim
in a "bouncy" way so that the sound isn't dampened. This is
usually done with the thumb, but you can also use your finger
tips. The other main sound is the slap which is an open handed
slap to the centre of the skin. Please don't hit the skin
too hard! You can wreck the instrument like that and it's
not necessary. Getting this sound is all about technique,
which a Capoeira teacher or Pandeiro player can show you.
Besides these sounds, you can make
the jingles sound in a variety of different ways. One way
is hitting the skin with your finger tips (but not making
the low tone). Other ways involve moving the pandeiro itself
without hitting it.
The pandeiro is commonly used in other
Brazilian music, Samba, Forrˇ, Samba-Reggae, even
Funk. It is a very versatile instrument, capable of amazing
rhythms. Some people even juggle them and spin them on their
fingers, but if you want to try that, make sure it's your
pandeiro, and it has a soft landing place if you drop it.
Even if it doesn't break, it can get bent and warped, which
makes it harder to juggle, and more importantly can change
The Atabaque is a
tall standing drum similar to a conga made of long strips
of wood joined side by side to each other, and covered at
the end by animal skin that is tied on with rope. The other
end is not covered. The atabaque plays a similar beat to the
pandeiro, and follows its rhythm.
The most basic way to play it uses
only two different sounds, the low tone and the slap.
The slap is sort of similar to the pandeiro slap (you slap
the centre of the skin with a similar technique). The low
tone is made by hitting the skin near the rim like with the
pandeiro, but you hit it with the base of your fingers instead
of the thumb or finger tips, and you use both hands.
The atabaque is used in Capoeira,
Samba de Roda, Maculŕlŕ (Brazilian folk dance
with sticks or cane knives/machetes, which in modern times
is practised by many Capoeira schools), and religious
ceremonies of CandomblÚ and Macumba.
It was because of its religious use that Mestre Bimba did
not include the atabaque in his Capoeira Regional.
There are three types of atabaque
which can be used together and are called (from biggest to
smallest): rum, rum-pi and le.
In Capoeira only one atabaque is used.
The ag˘g˘ is an African
double-headed bell. One of the bells is high pitched, and
the other one is lower. It is played by hitting the bells
with a small stick, following the pandeiro rhythm. There is
also a clicking sound you can make with the Ag˘g˘ by squeezing
it, so that the two bells hit eachother.
The ag˘g˘ is used in Samba and
Capoeira, as well as other forms of popular
music and Afro-Brazilian religious ceremonies.
The rec˘-rec˘ is
a scraper which sounds similar to the guiro used in Cuban
music. It is usually a section of a large piece of bamboo
with notches cut into one side. The player slides a thin stick
over the lines to make the rhythm, which is also similar to
the pandeiro rhythm.
The rec˘-rec˘ is also used in Samba,
where it can be made out of metal with springs instead of
the notches. In some regions of Brazil the reco-reco is known
as 'reso-reso', 'raspador'
or 'casaca'. Of all the instruments in the
Capoeira bateria, the rec˘-rec˘ is the least commonly used.
People in the roda who are not playing
in the middle or playing instruments can clap their hands.
The way this is done varies from school to school, but in
our school, there is no clapping in Capoeira Angola, and there
are two variations of Regional clap that are both used (although