Our Instruments

Chicada @ FallsThe Repinique (also known as "repique ") is used in the baterias of Rio and Bahia. In Rio it is played with a short drum stick and a bare hand, in Bahia with plastic "whippy sticks". The baterias of Rio tend to use only 12" repiques, and the fewer the lugs, the less chance you have of hurting your hand!

Chicada @ FallsThe Surdos are the large bass drums used in samba. In Rio these drums are used with cow hide, but in Bahia nylon heads are used. The marcação (or primeira / first) and reposta (segunda / second) hold down the beat. In Bahia these drums are called the Fundo 1 and Fundo 2. In Rio, the centrador or corte (cutting / third surdo) plays a variation between the beat. In Bahia there are often two different surdo parts playing these counter rhythms, known as surdos de virada. 

Chicada @ FallsThe Caixa that has metal snares is called the Caixa de Guerra (war drum) and is very similar to typical snare drums in tone. These are played with drumsticks in a similar fashion to marching drums. It is sometimes held on the shoulder to project the sharp rhythm over the crowds of dancing parades.

Chicada @ FallsThe Tamborims used by baterias today are made of metal with a nylon head. There are classic phrases for this drum: The subida, which annouces the entrance of the tamborims at the start of the samba, and after breaks and turns; the carreteiro, where all the 16th notes in a bar are played, using a playing technique which invloves turning the wrist and drum round; the telecoteco, a pattern used in both pagode and carnaval sambas. The leader of the tamborim section also writes specific phrases for the tamborim to complement the melody of the samba enredo.

Chicada @ FallsThe Pandeiro is a kind of tambourine (by the common American usage of the word) that has a single head with jingles around the rim that accentuate the strikes.

Chicada @ FallsThe Cuica is perhaps the most characteristic sound of Samba, the Cuica has a stick attached to a resonating membrane such that when a wet cloth creates friction on the stick, a squeaking noise is made by the resonator.

Chicada @ FallsThe Rocar, Ganza or Chocalho, consists of several small cymbals (platinelas) in a metal frame. In the carnaval sambas of Rio, the rocar will generally play in the first part of the enredo and is silent in the second part. The Ganzá is a metal cylinder filled with metal balls. Much quieter than the chocalho, but still used in pagode / bossa nova / mpb and ideal for childrens groups

Chicada @ FallsThe Agogo bells These bells trace their ancestry back to Africa. Variations of these bells are used throughout Brazil in many different types of music.

Chicada @ FallsThe Reco Reco is a metal instrument with springs that are scraped, much the same as the guiro in Cuban music. The instrument has virtually disappeared from the baterias of Rio, but is still used in the smaller pagode groups.

Chicada @ FallsThe Timbao is a drum with a nylon head inspired by the traditional timba, it was introduced into timbalada by Carlinhos Brown. Currently it is used in music from Bahia in general. With its high tuning, the Timbal produces a high, piercing sound. It often functions as lead drum in many Samba Reggae songs and combines the sound of the Latin American conga and timbale. Played with the hands like a djembe .

Chicada @ FallsThe Ganza or Shaker It is made from a metal tube, filled with pebbles or other small hard granular material. Ganzas range in size from small single pocket sized models to large double monsters. Ganzas are instruments of traditional importance in samba baterias where they used to have the same function as a Chocalho. The ganza's sound is quieter and less aggressive than that of a chocalho, or rocar.

Chicada @ FallsThe Berimbau is a single-string percussion instrument, a musical bow, from Brazil. The berimbau's origins are not entirely clear, but there is not much doubt on its African origin, as no Indigenous Brazilian or European people use musical bows, and very similar instruments are played in the southern parts of Africa.The berimbau was eventually incorporated into the practice of the Afro-Brazilian martial art capoeira, where it commands how the capoeiristas move in the roda. The instrument is also a part of Candomblé-de-caboclo tradition.