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Brazilian Instruments – Brazilian Musical Instruments

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Brazilian Musical Instruments

“Have a look at our list of Brazilian instruments – Brazilian Musical Instruments”

Brazilian Instruments - Brazilian Musical Instruments

About Brazilian Music

Brazilian music has a rich mix of European, African, and Brazilian Indigenous influences and has produced one of the most unique and diverse musical cultures in the world.

The music of Brazil is brimming with enthusiasm, energy and the music seems to come alive through a variety of Brazilian instruments that gives the sounds and music of Brazil its uniqueness.

Most Brazilian musical instruments came from Portuguese, native Brazilian and African ancestors and still retain their original characteristics. While others were modified and have evolved over time, and took on their own unique range of rhythms.


Brazilian Instruments

Let’s take a look at some of these Brazilian Musical instruments than many have never heard of.


Brazilian Instruments - Brazilian Musical Instruments

The afoxé is a traditional Brazilian instrument and is of African origin. This Afro-Brazilian musical instrument consists of a gourd (cabaça) wrapped in a net in which beads or small plastic balls are threaded. The instrument is shaken to create its unique musical sound.



Brazilian Instruments - Brazilian Musical Instruments

An agogô is also of African origin and is a single or multiple bells that is traditionally used in samba percussion ensembles. The agogô has the highest pitch of any of the samba percussion instruments and is the oldest musical instrument used in samba music


Brazilian Instruments - Brazilian Musical Instruments

Atabaque is a musical instrument of percussion. The name came from Arab origin (attn-tabaq or plate ). This Brazilian musical instrument is made of wood called Jacaranda from Brazil and the top is covered with leather. Atabaque is like a hand drum that is used in many religious styles of music. To play it you need to use both hands or with two drumsticks. It is used play in Brazilian rhythms, such as the samba and the axé music. In the candomblé it is considered a sacred object.


Brazilian Instruments - Brazilian Musical Instruments

Berimbau is a musical bow that is a single-stringed instrument. It produces a unique twang sound and is the main instrument of the traditional capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian martial art form. It is used to establish the rhythm of capoeira.


Brazilian Instruments - Brazilian Musical Instruments

Pandeiro is a Brazilian musical instrument that derived from Portugal. It is somewhat similar to a tambourine, but more complex. The tension of the head on the pandeiro can be tuned, allowing the player a choice of high and low notes. Also, the metal jingles (called platinelas in Portuguese) are cupped, creating a crisper, drier and less sustained tone on the pandeiro than on the tambourine. Pandeiro is usually played in the carnival to play samba music and has been described as an unofficial instrument of Brazil



Brazilian Instruments - Brazilian Musical Instruments

Reco-reco is a Brazilian percussion instrument consisting of a ridged gourd or bamboo cane that is scraped with a piece of wood or metal. The friction of a stick on the grooves produces a scratching sound. Another type is the call amelê from Bahia, constituted of a small wood box with an extended spring of steel. Nowadays, a Reco-reco is mostly made of metal.


Brazilian Instruments - Brazilian Musical Instruments

Ganzá is a Brazilian instrument that is similar to a rattle and used in samba and other Brazilian rhythms as a percussion instrument. The ganzá is cylindrically shaped that is made out of a hand-woven basket or a metal or plastic tube which is filled with beads, pebbles, metal balls, or other similar items. The length of the tube can vary of fifteen to more than 50 centimeters.


Brazilian Instruments - Brazilian Musical Instruments

Repinique is also known as repique, is a Brazilian musical instrument that is made of metal or wood. This Brazilian instrument is like a two-headed drum. The repinique is a small drum with skins on both sides, that has to be carried with the help of the shoulder and it is played with a drumstick in one of the hands while the other hand plays directly on it. It was created by the samba schools for the carnival.


Shekere/ Xequerê

Brazilian Instruments - Brazilian Musical Instruments

This musical instrument is from Africa. Xequerê is made of small bottle gourd that grew in fields. The form of the bottle gourd determines the sound of the instrument since every shape is different, the sound that is produced also varies from the musical instrument. In Brazil, this instrument is wrapped in a net. This net consists of little plastic balls that are threaded into the net.


Brazilian Instruments - Brazilian Musical Instruments

The cavaquinho is a small type of guitar that is similar to the Hawaiian ukulele. It has four wire or gut strings and is of Portuguese origin. It is a very important instrument in Brazilian music, especially for samba and choro. The Brazilian cavaquinho is different from the Portuguese one in that its neck is elevated in relation to the body, and the sound hole is traditionally round, therefore making it similar to a traditional guitar.



Brazilian Instruments - Brazilian Musical Instruments

In Portuguese, ‘Chocalho’ is a word meaning ‘shaker’. Chocalhos are used in Samba, as a support instrument for the caixas. Chocalhos are made of an aluminum or wooden frame with tambourine jingles coming off its sides. The sound is created by shaking the instrument back and forth, up and down. Chocalhos are very loud especially when played in large groups.


Sounds of Brazilian Instruments

Below are a few examples of the listed Brazilian instruments in collaboration. Have a listen to the unique sounds.


Other Related Pages

Brazilian Music main page  

Famous Brazilian Songs  



  1. how about chocolo

  2. this is a really good list of instruments that can help the education of children!!!!!!!!!!

  3. How about Cuíca or “kuweeca”?

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