25 August7pm
1 September7pm
8 September7pm
15 September7pm
22 September7pm
Samba Instruments
Surdo Print
Monday, 03 September 2007 03:38
In Portuguese the word 'Surdo' means 'deaf'!
The large double-headed bass drum is perhaps the most recognisable of all of the samba instruments, with its deep 'doom' sound providing the fundamental beat of the samba rhythm. The surdo is played with a soft-headed mallet and a bare hand (to dampen the head and change the pitch of the drum), or with two mallets (as in samba reggae and other styles from the north-east of Brazil).

There are three sizes of surdo commonly used in a bateria:

The primeiro ('first') surdo or surdo marcaná is the largest and lowest in pitch of the surdos. The first surdo plays on the SECOND, stronger beat (the upbeat) of a samba.

The segunda ('second') surdo or surdo resposta is smaller and tuned higher than a primeiro surdo. A second surdo plays on the first beat of the samba, (the downbeat) providing a counter beat for the first surdo.

The terceiro ('third') surdo, or surdo cortador, is the smallest and highest pitched of all three surdos. It 'cuts' between the beats of the first and second surdo, playing variations in rhythm.
Repinique Print
Monday, 03 September 2007 03:45
ImagePlayed with one stick and a bare hand, or with two flexible plastic sticks, the repinique is a small, double-headed drum that is tuned very high. This instrument leads the bateria, signaling breaks and internal cues, and playing improvised solos.
Caixa Print
Monday, 03 September 2007 03:43
ImageThe caixa is a military-style snare drum which lends samba its distinctive 'swing'. Some Brazilian snares called 'tarols' or 'malacachetas' have the snare strands on the top of the drum, making the sound drier than a typical marching drum.
Tamborim Print
Monday, 03 September 2007 03:46
ImageA small frame-drum played with a single stick or multi-pronged plastic beater (or in more intimate pagode samba settings, with the fingers). Using a technique called 'virado', the tamborim is twisted as it is struck, producing a distinctive 'tak-a-lak-a' rhythm.
Ganzá & chocalho Print
Monday, 03 September 2007 03:47
ImageGroups of canister or 'jingle' shakers that produce a range of different sounds. These instruments contribute to the samba swing.
Agogô Print
Monday, 03 September 2007 03:57
ImageSet of two (or three) pitched cowbells played with a beater. The bells can also be squeezed together to produce a 'chick' sound.
Reco-reco Print
Monday, 03 September 2007 03:54
ImageA scraper, typically made from wire springs stretched across a metal frame. This instrument is played by running a small metal rod across the springs to produce a 'shh-shh' sound.
Pandeiro Print
Monday, 03 September 2007 03:49
ImageAn iconic Brazilian instrument! The pandeiro is a frame-drum with jingles that is held in the weaker hand and played by striking with the thumb, fingertips, heel of the hand and the whole hand. The pandeiro can produce such a range of timbres and variety of sounds that it is widely considered 'the complete percussion instrument'. Today, the pandeiro is featured as part of a bateria more as a spectacle than for its sound, as they are quickly drowned out by a 500-strong percussion section! The pandeiro is widely used in pagode ('soft') samba.
Cuíca Print
Monday, 03 September 2007 03:52
Image(pronounced 'qweeka') - the cuíca makes an unusual sound that is often described as like that of a monkey laughing. The cuíca is a friction drum that is played by rubbing a stick within the shell of the drum with a piece of wet cloth or paper. The player simultaneously presses on the head of the drum to change the pitch.
Cavaco/cavaquinho Print
Monday, 03 September 2007 03:51
ImageA small guitar with 4 steel strings, the cavaquinho is the only melodic instrument permitted within a bateria.
Apito Print
Monday, 03 September 2007 03:52
ImageA whistle used by the 'mestre de bateria' (bateria leader) to signal breaks during a samba.


Learn to play percussion with the Brisbane Samba School! We are always on the lookout for more percussionists. After all, in Brazil they play this music with over 500 drummers!

We currently have vacancies for:

  • Surdo players
  • Tamborim players
  • Agogo players
  • Caixa (snare) players
  • Repinique players
  • And more...

We'll teach you how to play!