Capoeira Music

Musical Instruments

The musical instruments used in capoeira are:

  • – Berimbau
  • – Pandeiro
  • – Atabaquê
  • – Agogô
  • – Reco reco

Instruments of Capoeira de Angola:

  • – One Berimbau Gunga
  • – One Berimbau Berra-Boi
  • – One Berimbau Viola
  • – One or two Pandeiros
  • – One Atabaquê
  • – One Agogô
  • – One Reco reco

Instruments of Capoeira Regional:

  • – One Berimbau
  • – Two Pandeiros

The use of the instruments depends on the philosophy of each particular capoeira school. Each Master has his own preferences and traditions which are reflected by a noted flexibility about the number of instruments used in the roda; some do not make any distinction between the different styles, others always prefer to use 3 Berimbaus, some do not demonstrate any preference, and so forth.

Berimbau
This is a percussion instrument in the form of a bow arced with a metal cord (arame). A hollowed gourd (cabaça) is placed near the bottom of the arc and serves as a resonance chamber. The metal cord is tapped by a thin wooden stick that the musician holds within his or her fingers, along with a rattle-like shaker (caxixi). A rock, pressed more or less firmly against the metal cord, is one component in the variation of sounds and rhythm. A second component is determined by the resonance chamber and its alternating distance from the musician’s stomach.

Origin: The berimbau shares a heritage with the harp. It can be traced back six thousand years, possibly to southern India or Egypt. Although its original use is completely unknown, we do know that monks would use it to beg for alms and that merchants would also use it to attract clients. This instrument was incorporated into capoeira during the 20th century.

The three different types of berimbau offer three varied sound pitches:

  • – berimbau Berra-Boi (low or bass pitch)
  • – berimbau Gunga ou Médio (medium pitch)
  • – berimbau Viola ou Violinha (high or sharp pitch)

 

Pandeiro
This percussion instrument is composed of a wooden circle, covered with small cymbals, over which an animal skin (preferably goat or ox) is stretched. This instrument can be played by hitting it with the hands, the elbows, the knees, and even the feet.

Origin: The Arab world. It is also known as the panderola or tambourine. It is an ancient instrument used in religious ceremonies.

Atabaquê
This is a rudimentary percussion instrument made by stretching an animal skin over a cone-shaped wooden structure. It is hollow and the bottom is left open so that the sound can resonate. It is used in contemporary and religious African dance. This is a sacred candomblé instrument, equally used by folkloric dance troupes. The three different types of Atabaquê offer three varied sound pitches:

The three different types of Atabaquê offer three varied sound pitches:

  • – Rum (low or bass pitch)
  • – Rumpi (medium pitch)
  • – Lê (high or sharp pitch)

 

Agogô
This percussion instrument consists of two iron bells that resonate when tapped with an iron stick. The common musical term is cowbell. It is generally used in candomblé ceremonies, maracatu processions, samba schools, and so forth.

Origin: African.

Reco Reco
This percussion instrument is made from a piece of bamboo or wood covered with transversal ridges.

capoeira music brazil trip(2008 Brazil Trip)