Samba Carnival Instruments
and Brazil, Rio de Janeiro,
Samba City

Samba Carnival Instruments are an important part of Brazil and the Rio de Janeiro Carnevale, sending out the irresistible beats and rhythms making the crowd explode in a colourful dance revolution fantasy fest !!

In the Morro ( the hills surrounding Rio ), samba is batucada. Which means that the samba dance and music is entirely based upon percussion samba carnival instruments. This is typial of carnival street music in Rio de Janeiro.

The batucada also was the name of the percussion group that plays this kind of music. The batucada usually walked the streets slowly surrounded by a dancing and singing crowd. The samba is born of a rhythmic necessity that it allows you to sing, to dance and to parade at the same time.

Short History of the Samba Carnival Instruments:
Historically, the initial samba and carnival used flutes and string instruments from the “educated / civilized” Europe. Drums and percussion instruments was looked upon as tributes to African gods and ways of the black, they were banned and often punished with arrests and violence.

Only in 1930 with the shift of power to Vargas by military forces brought a change in law to allow the contagious sound effects of today’s Samba Carnival Instruments. Vargas believed in promoting Brazil as a multiple race / class society and promoted the African heritage through subsidized parades with patriotic themes. As an effect the big drums made it back into the Brazil Samba Carnival Instruments!

Today’s ‘Bataria’ consist of up to hundreds of different players using a variety of drums and percussion instruments. All guided by the bataria leader on rehearsed signals and signs.

Brazil Samba Carnival Instruments usually in Rio de Janeiro:

Today, there are different types of instrument that make up the Brazilian pounding batarias:

The bataria leader usually use some kind of whistle to control the music. The
Apito is a whistle with three tones and can be used to give the tempo, the initiation of the bataria and the stop. However, many leaders tend to prefer referee whistles which are louder and higher than the Apito.


The surdos are wide and deep drums beaten upon by hand and bass drumsticks which gives the bass drum foundation in the Brazil carnivale sound. There are different types of surdos varying in tone (bass, medium, high).

The caixas are snare drums with a sharp sound because of metallic thin springs or strings in contact with a scin. The Caixas make fast rhythm combinations and is easily recognizable as an important part of the batarias. The typical drum whirls in circus or the like are often snare drums, just to giva an idea.

Then you have the shakers or the chocalhos (also called chapinhas) and the ganzes. The chocalhos are made of groups of metallic discs slipped on a frame that is shaked to make them chink together, while the ganzes are made with seeds enclosed in a cylinder.

The repiniques are like the snare drums, but deeper and without snare

Like the snare drum, the tamborim Samba Carnival Instrument also give a sharp high pitch sound which contribute to the whirling and complicated rythms of Brazil carnival samba music. Tamborims are small cylinders (the diameter is no more than about one hand) with one very tightened skin that gives them such a high and bright tone.

The agogos, are little bells with two to five tones used to promote the melody in the brazilian samba carnival music.

The cuicas, which sounds like high screams and are like the agogos used to promote the melody. The cuica is made like a drum with only one skin. At the center of the skin is tied a thin stick that is rubbed with a wet sponge from the inside of the instrument, making the skin vibrate. With the other hand, it is possible to modify the skin tension by pressing on it to make the sound more or less high

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