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Capoeira Music

Capoeira is not capoeira without the music that accompanies the game. The music is made up of instruments, clapping, and singing. While different styles of capoeira may use only some of the instruments, a typical roda has three berimbaus, a pandeiro, and an atabaque (sometimes also a reco-reco and agô-agô).

Berimbau: The berimbau is essential to the capoeira game. It is the instrument that dictates the type of game (slow, fast, aggressive, etc.) through its different rhythms, and all games begin at the foot of the berimbau. There are three sizes of this bow-shaped instrument—gunga, médio, and viola, and each one has a different tone (gunga has the lowest, viola the highest). The gunga keeps the basic rhythm, while the médio accompanies this basic rhythm and does some variations, and the viola improvises on the basic rhythm the gunga is playing.

Pandeiro: The pandeiro is like a tamborine, with a leather surface. It accompanies the berimbau and helps keep the rhythm.

Atabaque: The atabaque is a drum (somewhat similar to a congo drum) which also accompanies the berimbaus and helps keep the rhythm.