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Conga - Samba Variations

SAMBA

Brazil
Conga Drums in Brazil are called "atabaque" named after the conga-like drums of the northern style of Candomble. The original atabaque come in three sizes and are linked to the African Yoruba tradition. Today modern congas and bongos are common for all Samba as well as Baiao and Brazilian Jazz and funk.

The basic samba rhythm is commonly described as "one, uh two" or "boom chicka boom" where the "a" of chicka corresponds to the "uh" of "one, uh two". (The "chick" simulates the high-hat sound of a drumset player in a Latin dance band. Such drumset patterns are beyond our scope here.)
< B < < B < <
The driving force of the Samba comes from the low drum pattern. In marching samba the low drive comes from bass drums known as surdo played with one mallet and the hand (usually wearing a glove to damp the drum) A Conga low part example with a more interesting rhythm than the basic above is shown below:


< < O O < B < <

Variations on the low drum pattern



< < O O < B < B <


< < O O < B B <


< < O O
O <
<
< B B < O
O
<

 

The flavor of the samba comes from the high drum parts. A samba high part with common variations is shown below:



<
< S S < S

<

 

Variations on the high drum pattern



<
O < S S < S
O
<


<
O < S O
O
O
<


<
S < O O < S < S
<

O < S


O < S < S
<
Below are some two conga Samba patterns


< < O < O S < < < <
O S < < O < O S S
< O < O
O S
< O < O
S <
O O <

 

Samba rhythms can get exceedingly complex.

Needless to say, the various music styles and patterns we have presented so far have barely scratched the surface of musical styles and rhythms for conga drums. We have hardly mentioned traditional African patterns at all! However, we hope that this has perhaps piqued your interest and hopefully will inspire further investigations.

Next Care of your conga Drums



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