How to play Samba on Drum-set: Variations

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

Hello once again, rhythmic enthusiasts! It’s Pedrinho Augusto, and now we’re venturing further into the mesmerizing realm of Samba music, specifically focusing on how to play Samba on a drum set. Remember, when you play Samba on the drum set, it’s not just about rhythm—it’s a reflection of Brazil’s opulent Batucada tradition, consolidating an array of percussive instruments into one drum kit. Click here to check out the first post to fully understand this sequence.

The Coordination Challenge of Samba rhythm

Embracing the diverse rhythms of Samba Batucada when you play Samba on a drum set is truly a task of repetition and patience. Traditional Samba is orchestrated with an ensemble of instruments such as the dominant surdo, the tamborim, the rhythmic repique, the melodious agogo, and the vibrant chocalho. Integrating these rhythms when you play Samba on a drum kit is an intricate dance of interdependence, one that offers both challenges and rewards.

Your Next Steps in Playing Samba on Drum-set

The “Samba on Drum set – intermediate” playlist on the Drumap App masterfully elucidates this synthesis. Here’s a glimpse of what awaits as you progress in your journey to play Samba on a drum set (Go to “Samba on Drum-set intermediate” playlist):

  • Hi-Hat on the Upbeat (foot): Channeling the essence of the chocalho and reco-reco, the hi-hat’s upbeat carves a distinct rhythm, enhancing the classic Samba-enredo ambiance when you play Samba on your kit. It also creates a fuller base with the bass drum as it is placed where there is no bass drum being played.
  • Ride Cymbal Patterns: Inspired by the subdivision instruments of the Escola de samba, a couple of ride patterns come alive to add variation in color and to help play fast samba on drums.
  • Tamborim Variations on the Snare: Being a pivotal instrument in Samba batucada, the tamborim frequently interacts with instruments like the repinique and the pandeiro. The best samba players improvise their tamborim lines on the snare head or using the cross-stick technique. The exercises in this playlist will give you the foundation of the coordination required to improvise the tamborim part with your left hand whilst keeping the patterns with your other limbs. Remember that the authentic way to improvise the tamborim line is to do it within a language that is based on the pattern we saw on the first playlist. The first thing you need in order to develop the language is to listen to many tamborim players and drummers doing it. When you play Samba on a drum set, the snare assumes this multifaceted role, enabling you to indulge in rhythmic dialogues. To round off the playlist, there’s another enthralling 16-bar challenge piece, showcasing your evolutionary journey.

Join Our Samba Community

Practice, while essential, becomes even more delightful when shared. Hence, I cordially invite you to the “Master-ing Samba” group in the Drumap App. Bask in the fervor of Samba rhythms, share insights, and submerge yourself in a like-minded community.

Check out this example from Drumap´s Samba drumset playlist Titled Samba bateria fabiano 2

Look forward to our subsequent rhythm-packed encounter where we explore advanced techniques. Until then, practice your coordination exercises to the best of your ability, you will need this foundation, believe in me! We are approaching the pro level!

Let´s music,

Pedrinho Augusto

About the author: Pedrinho Augusto, a beacon in Brazilian music, has collaborated with legends like Gilberto Gil and Dominguinhos. A stalwart in the Drumap community, Pedrinho’s expertise makes every beat a lesson in itself.

Explore more of Pedrinho´s key fundamentals for playing Samba, for example “How to play Samba on Drum set: Getting Started”

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