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SAMBA Tamborim & Agogo Patterns
This time we are concentrating on the rhythms played by a small frame drum known as the tamborim (a small frame drum played with a stick), and the agogo bells (twin bells). The instruments are both held in the left hand and played with a stick in the right hand. As explained on my previous articles SAMBA Essential Parts and SAMBA Rhythmic Directions, these styles make use of two bar rhythms, which can be approached two ways, with the incorporation of the rhythmic directions A-B or B-A depending on the melody and arrangement of a particular piece. The A side has underlying accents on the 'e-a' of beat one, while on the B side these accents occur on 'one-and'. Examples one and two illustrate this underlying rhythmic base in both directions:

Example 1

example 1


Example 2

example 2


The following are some popular samba patterns. First a pattern played by the tamborim in both rhythmic directions. Here is the A-B direction:

tamborim a-b


The followinmg is the B-A direction:

tamborim b-a


Here is the agogo pattern in both rhythmic directions. The A-B direction:

agogo a-b


The following is the B-A direction:

agogo b-a


Keep playing the patterns until you 'hear' the rhythmic connections of examples one and two. After that find some good Brazilian samba records, or any other well written material based on this style, connect with the correct rhythmic direction and play-a-long.


© Alex Pertout. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced without prior written permission from the author. This article was first published in Drumscene magazine.


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