are the heartbeat of percussion samba. These bass drums provide a steady
beat that acts as a foundation for the accompanying rhythms.
The Tamborim (often mistaken for a tambourine) is a small, round, hand held instrument. It looks much like a tambourine, only much smaller and it has no bells on the side. It is hit with a two or three pronged beater and makes a very high pitched and sharp sound.
The Agogo bell is a handheld, two toned instrument that makes a high pitched ringing sound. Light double and triple cowbells are hit with a light stick, to add notes over the top of the rhythm.
The Ganza, or shaker, is rhythmically shaken back and forth to mark the music's tempo, and provide the main white noise of any samba pieces. When many of these are played together they sound very effective.
The band leader will always have a Whistle at hand to blow out rhythmic commands and to add further effect to other rhythms. The traditional whistle, shown above, is much different to the 'normal' pea whistle. It has two 'arms' at the side which protrude outwards and have holes at the end. These holes are covered to obtain different pitches. The standard whistle can blow out three pitches.
The Batter Head
(or top head) is the one that you play (or beat) on. Up until the 1950's,
batter heads were almost always made of calf skin. With the invention of
plastic, drum companies changed all of that. Most drum heads these days
are made of mylar, most with some type of coating.
The Sticks are generally made of wood & come in every size, shape & color that you can image!
We also use Triangles, and Rocar hand held bell shakers (which are a very simple instrument to make using a stick with tambourine bells attached with nails).
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