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The Percussion Instruments of Brasil


tantan brazil samba hand drum muted soundFirst used inside of pagode groups (very small samba groups) instead of the Surdo because of the size. It soon started to be used as part of larger samba groups. The Tantãn was first introduced by Sereno, from the bloco Cacique de Ramos in the mid-70s.

Beth Carvalho was the first to record this Rythm in 1978 in the album De pé no chão with Sereno on the Tan Tãn. Soon Sereno, Bira presidente, Almir Guineto, Jorge Aragão & other members of the bloco Cacique de Ramos started with the group called Fundo de Quintal with their first cd called " Samba é no Fundo de Quintal " in 1980.

Today this instrument can be used to accompany the Surdo or it can be used by itself as the base of small, intimate samba groups, in bigger shows or even in some Samba Schools.

Playing the Tamborim

The tamborim is a small drum (6") with a single head. It is very similar to a mini tambourine without jingles. The body of the drum usually is made of metal, acrylic or plastic & you can play it with a thin drumstick or a 2 or 3 pronged plastic or rattan stick.

O tamborim e um pequeno instrumento redondo similar a um pandeiro so que sem as pratinelas e bem menor. (6") O corpo do intrumento e geralmente de metal, acrilico ou plastico e voce pode tocar com uma baqueta de bateria fina ou uma de plastico com 2 ou 3 pontas.

tamborim samba brasil brazil framedrum mini smallListen to any of the following artists to hear how the tantãn is played: Fundo de Quintal, Beth Carvalho, Martinho da Vila, or Zeca Pagodinho.

As with any instrument, you should start out practicing the rhythms slowly, until you've gotten used to the technique and the 'feeling', then you can work on your speed.

The Pandeiro
In a country rich in rhythms and full of a variety of instruments, the pandeiro is considered the Brazilian national instrument and an icon of samba. The pandeiro is a tambourine with a head made of either animal (goat, calf) skin or plastic. The jingles have a drier sound than most American tambourines. It comes in various sizes, from 8" to 16" across. The most common sizes are 10", 11" and 12". Although the pandeiro is most commonly associated with samba, it is also used in almost all other Brazilian rhythms and music, including rock, funk and pop.
The Maracatu comes from the coronation festivities created by the Portuguese for the Congolese people in Brazil. During these ceremonies the 'Congo king' was elected-only people of Congolese descent were allowed to vote. This 'Congo king' had no real power, it was only a symbolic position. The first documented ceremony occurred in 1711 in Olinda.

The dance traditionally is followed by percussion instruments only. In the music you find strong mystic and religious elements.


Forro brasil coco xaxado baiao bemolado xote

We may hear the following phrases in various regions in Brazil-"Let's play some forró!" "Let's go to a forró(or forrobodó)!"

FORRÓ can mean a party, a group of people going to some one's house or a ballroom to dance different rhythms of the Northeast such as: coco, xaxado, baião, embolado, xote among others. So when we say forró we are talking about a genre of music and dance that
came from Northeast of Brazil and not a specific rhythm.

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