How to play Samba on Drum set: Getting Started

drummer with drumming sticks just about to play a drumset in his home studio.

Greetings, my fellow rhythm seekers! I’m Pedrinho Augusto, and I’m excited to guide you on how to play Samba on the drum set.

What is Samba?

Before we dive into the rhythms, let’s get a perspective of what Samba is about. More than just music, Samba is a vibrant cultural manifestation deeply rooted in the Brazilian nation.

Samba is a dance, a parade, a party, a way of life, and of course a genre of music with many sub-genres to it. When you play Samba on a drum kit, you’re channeling the heartbeat of celebrations, gatherings, and the lifestyle of a great part of the Brazilian population. It encapsulates the history, struggles, and joys of the Brazilian people. Understanding its cultural significance adds depth and meaning to your drumming journey, especially in terms of feel and language.

Playing Samba on Drum-set – From Ensembles to Drum-set

Samba’s rhythm section comes from an ensemble of percussion instruments, a beautiful array of percussion that can be played while walking with the parade, each with a unique voice: the mystical cuica, the playful tamborim, the versatile pandeiro, and the thunderous surdo, among others. When we talk about playing Samba on a drum set, it is essentially an adaptation of these instruments from the “escola de samba” (samba school) to the kit. The bass drum covers the surdo’s and tantan’s powerful low-end thump, the snare captures the crispness of the caixa, repique, and tamborim and the hi-hat mimics the chocalhos, agogô, and pandeiro. This can get more intricate and complex as you explore the different sounds that each original percussion instrument can produce. For example, you might reproduce a “tapa” from the tantan on your snare so don’t get stuck with the more obvious associations. Recognizing these and exploring new links can truly breathe personality into your ability to play Samba on a drum set.

Where to Start

Embarking on learning to play Samba on a drum kit? Dive into our meticulously crafted playlist in the Drumap App, titled “Samba on Drum-set – beginners.” This playlist serves as your introduction to the enchanting world of Samba rhythms. It guides you from the basics of Samba rhythmic elements to more intricate patterns, forming a robust foundation.

Within that playlist, as you learn to play Samba on the drum set, you’ll start with basic coordination patterns. Here, you’ll maintain the fundamental Samba accents on the hi-hat while delivering the surdos’ essence by playing the bass drum on the second beat.

After mastering various permutations, you’ll soon be executing a complete basic Samba pattern on the drum set. The hi-hat will echo the chocalho/ganzá, the cross stick on the snare enacting the tamborim’s role, and the bass drum mirroring the surdo pattern.

Lastly, at the playlist’s conclusion, challenge yourself with a 16-bar piece incorporating all the patterns you’ve practiced.

How to Study

Your journey to play Samba on a drum set doesn’t conclude with this playlist. Delve deeper with intermediate and advanced playlists in the Drumap App. Start at a comfortable pace, then speed up the tempo using Drumap scores as your metronome to keep you on track.

Embrace repetition; once you’ve got the Samba groove down pat on your drum set, iterate until coordination becomes second nature, focusing on listening to what you are playing and especially to the other instruments in the ensemble.

To truly play Samba on a drum set, immerse yourself in its sounds by tuning into Samba maestros like João da Baiana, Zeca Pagodinho, and Beth Carvalho. Their compositions don’t just inspire; they serve as guideposts to this rhythmic art’s language and nuances. Listen as much as you can.

Join Our Samba Community

Music thrives when shared. I invite you to join our “Master-ing Samba” group in the Drumap App. Engage with a community of drummers, each on their unique Samba journey, perfect for sharing progress, posing questions, and gaining insights from fellow Drumap Masters.

Ready to play Samba on the drum set? Access the “Samba on Drum-set – beginners” playlist now!

Stay tuned for more on the vibrant world of Samba percussion in our next post. Until then, practice your basic patterns, get comfortable with them, and listen a lot to this Brazilian gem!

Let´s music,

Pedrinho Augusto

About the author:

Pedrinho Augusto is a Brazilian drummer, percussionist, and educator who collaborated with important artists such as Gilberto Gil, Victor Wooten, Dominguinhos, Thiago Espírito Santo, and many others. Pedrinho is known for his versatility and profound understanding of Brazilian music. He studied at Universidade de Brasília, University of Louisville (US), and at the Berklee College of Music.

Ready to play Samba on the drum set? Access the “Samba on Drum-set – beginners” playlist now!

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