Berimbau is a single string percussion instrument

The Berimbau – A Percussion Instrument and Musical Bow From Africa

Berimbau is a single-string percussion instrument and musical bow that originated in Africa and is played in Brazil. It has been used by African and Brazilian metal bands for centuries.

Read on to learn about this instrument.

In this article, we will learn how the instrument is made and what is its history. We will also learn how to play it!

Here are some helpful tips.

Enjoy! And don’t forget to share your own experiences with this instrument.

How is a Berimbau Played?

Berimbaus is a typical example of Brazilian folk music. The high notes are made by pressing a dobra away from the gourd while the low notes are made by playing with a bow.

 caxixi dobrao with berimbau on the wooden floor

They differ slightly in tone and timbre from the high tones. Old recordings report a difference of only one tone between the high and low sounds. Often, the instrument grows to five feet and beyond, so tuning possibilities are limited.


Dobrao is a traditional South American musical instrument played with a wooden stick called a baqueta. The string is struck with the wooden stick, which is usually made of a 40 centimeter long piece of wood.

Its length is adjustable and the player can choose the amount of string tension angle to use.

Dobrao coin for brazilian berimbau capoeira instrument.

The instrument is usually accompanied by a caxixi, which is a woven basket that contains shells, seeds, and other objects.

Dobrao began as an art form and was eventually commercialized. The first capoeira schools were established in Brazil.

Later, it spread to other countries, including the United States.

It’s a popular form of self-defense and is practiced around the world.

Once illegal to perform, capoeira is now widely accepted as a way to protect oneself. It’s still practiced today.

Today, the berimbau is considered an emblematic instrument in Brazil, and its image appears in paintings, tattoos, and jewelry.

It is often accompanied by other instruments, and it can even induce altered states of awareness in its players. In capoeira, berimbau is treated as an additional player during gatherings.

It’s used in both Brazilian music and jazz as well as in modern compositions. Some performers even combine berimbau with other musical instruments, such as guitars and drums, or incorporate it with electronics and additional strings for greater variety.

The berimbau is an African-inspired musical instrument that has been used in Brazilian capoeira for over 300 years.

It is played with one string and is about four to five feet long. It is held upright or seated.

Its astring, or arame, creates the sound produced by the instrument. The instrument is played by striking the arame with a thin wood string called a baqueta.


The term “preso” comes from the Portuguese word for “string” and is applied to many instruments, including berimbaus. A berimbau is a percussion instrument played with a left hand.

It is held upright against the stomach. The little finger of the supporting hand slips under the string that secures the gourd to the bow.

The ring and middle fingers wrap around the wooden pole above the gourd. The thumb and index finger manipulate the dobrao, a smooth stone or thick metal disc pressed against a wire.

The instrument also features two other instruments: the baqueta, which is a 12-inch (30 cm) longhorn, and the caxixi, a small rattle.

The verga, a wooden piece roughly five feet long, is an important part of the berimbau. Although there are smaller versions of this instrument for children, the adult version should be similar to the verga.

A berimbau’s wood can come from many sources.

The traditional beriba tree grows in Northeast Bahia, Brazil, but there are many other kinds of wood that can be used in its place.

The dobrao is also used to produce a higher pitch than the solto. The preso is usually half a step higher than the solto.

Hence, a solto note in A key is equivalent to a preso note in A#.

If you are learning to play in a berimbau, knowing some basic music theory is helpful. For instance, placing the cabaca away from the body allows the sound to travel farther.

When playing the berimbau, you must be very careful to string the instrument. While it looks easy, it’s not. A berimbau has numerous components that make stringing difficult.

First, the cabaca, which is a rope-like string, must be placed in place. This will prevent the wire from slipping into the wood.

Then, the arame must be looped onto the bottom of the verga so that it can hold the tension.


The cabaca is the largest berimbau component.

Cabaca Berimbau - traditional music instrument

It is made of beriba wood, which is abundant in northern Brazil. However, the berimbau can be made of any wood as long as it accommodates both the arame and cabaca.

The cabaca is a hollow gourd. Its shape influences the tone of the berimbau. It is connected to the berimbau by a rope that loops around the arame and the cabaca.

The arame can be shaped like a small twig, or it can be flattened. Both instruments can produce high-pitched sounds.

The backbone of a berimbau consists of a wooden pole called a verga.

The verga is carved to have a low peg. To play the game, the lower end is held in place by string called arame.

The top end is held by the thumb and pointer finger. It is important to use the right hand when playing to ensure that you have the best grip.

A berimbau is a traditional instrument in Brazil. The instrument is made from a simple bow and a metal snare. The resonator is usually a gourd.

The berimbau is played by striking the percussive with a stick or by pressing a small coin or flat stone against the snare. Berimbau players can create impressive trance music. Most players will accompany their playing with singing, or a caxisi, or caxa.


The berimbau is played with a caxixi, a small percussion instrument. It is made of a closed basket with a flat bottom and is played with the right hand using a small stick called a vaquita or vareta.

caxixis standing on a wooden table

The caxixi can be played in a variety of ways, including alternating between striking the string with the stick or striking the strings with a small stone or coin held in the left index or thumb.

The caxixi is made of woven lengths of wicker that are bent into a bell shape and are filled with seeds.

The wooden stick is typically 40 centimeters long and is made from the wood of a mature mango tree. The wood is then polished and finished with varnish. The woven basket, known as the caxixi, is a berimbau accessory.

This instrument is used to complete the bateria sound.

The caxixi is played by placing the instrument over the middle finger and pinky fingers. It is held against the thumb and index finger.

This makes it possible for the player to press the instrument against a wire to change the pitch. The caxixi is traditionally played by a single hand, but it can also be played by two people. There are two caxixi instruments, the Caxixi. Both instruments are used to accompany a song.

The Caxixi is made of a natural fiber and can be used in addition to a Berimbau. There are various variations of the berimbau. Some of them are made with gourds, coconuts, and calabash. A simplified version is available through Tiny Tapping Toes. So if you are interested in learning to play the berimbau, you should check out a Brazilian website or check out one of the online resources listed below.


The berimbau is played with two pieces, the arame and the pedra.

The arame is a large copper coin, and the pedra is a stone. The sound of the berimbau can vary widely depending on the size of the cabaca, which varies from deep to high.

The arame is held together with a string or verga.

A thin stick, called the vaquita or vareta, is used to strike the string of the berimbau.

Baqueta sticks in a bag
Photo Credit: Author ZooFari

The player holds the stick in his or her right hand, while the other hand is used to hold a small stone or coin in the center of his or her left hand. This allows the player to control the pitch of the sound by changing the sound of the string.

The string must be held tightly to avoid striking other parts of the instrument.

The berimbau is a Brazilian percussion instrument that originated in Brazil.

It is an integral part of Brazilian music and is often accompanied by a variety of instruments.

Mauro Refosco, the lead singer and guitarist of Os Ipanemas, played the berimbau on his self-titled debut recording.

In 1964, he performed a jazz-bossa nova version of Powell’s “Berimbau.” Other notable musicians who play the berimbau include Mickey Hart, the drummer of the Grateful Dead.

In 1968, Gilberto Gil recorded an important tropicalismo album featuring the berimbau and electric guitars on the song “Domingo no Parque.” Finally, in 1969, Nana Vasconcelos played the berimbau with the Brazilian group Trio Nordeste.

Initially, capoeira was a banned fighting art in Brazil.

After the discovery of the United States, capoeira schools began spreading throughout the world.

While capoeira has become an extremely popular form of martial arts, the berimbau became more popular and is practiced across the world.

Aside from the caxixi, capoeira was also known as a self-defense form. The berimbau is a tethered instrument, which was used in capoeira.

The instrument is held in the right hand.

Berimbau is a gourd resonator

The Berimbau is a resonator made from a gourd, which produces a range of tones. The high and low sound are differentiated by the timbre and tone of each.

The former is higher in pitch while the latter is lower in pitch. Historically, the difference in tone was only 1 tone, or the interval from C to D.

Today, many berimbaus have grown to five feet in length. This means that the range of tunings is not as expansive as before.

Berimbau instruments are made from a cabaca, which is a hollowed-out gourd.

The cabaca shape also affects the timbre and pitch of the instrument. A rope is tied around the cabaca and looped through it. A rope is used to carry the cabaca.

The arame is held in place by a birro, which is either pointed or rounded.

In the 1990s, the berimbau underwent many developments and techniques.

With new musical contexts, tuning of the berimbau became a crucial issue.

Some artists, like Vasconcelos and Temiz, tied the gourd resonator to a bow made of wood. Others, such as Dinho Nascimento, built large bass berimbums.

The sound of the Berimbau is quite unique from that of traditional instruments. Players strike the string of the instrument with a stick called a caxixi.

The caxixi is held in the same hand as the stick and adds emphasis to the sound produced. The dobrao is also used to press against the arame to produce the buzz sound.

A berimbau is traditionally painted in bright colors, though today, most makers opt for an authentic look and feel.

It is made of biriba wood

Berimbau is an ancient South American chopping block made of biriba wood.

The wood is strong yet supple, so it can be armed and flexed many times. Because biriba is not indestructible, it is important to properly season the wood.

Once seasoned, biriba should be stored away from sunlight and out of direct sunlight. If you cannot find the right wood, you can dry it over an open fire, which will accelerate the drying process.

However, keep in mind that over-drying biriba can make it split and brittle.

The berimbau is one of the most complex instruments in capoeira.

It is played by striking a stick or rock against a string to produce a sound. The berimbau is made from biriba wood native to Brazil. It is also strung with a steel string.

The berimbau is resonating because of the gourd-like resonator at its bottom.

The main body of the instrument is called the verga.

The instrument is also called the berimbau and consists of other components, including a resonator attached to the bottom of the Verga, which is a hollowed-out gourd.

The instrument also uses two kinds of strings: the arame, which produces the sound, and the cabaca, which is a carved, hollowed-out dried gourd.

Berimbau has been used in music for centuries.

It is most often associated with capoeira, but it is also used in many other forms of Brazilian music, including carimbo, bossa nova, and tropicalism.

It is also used by Mario Tavares, Luis Augusto Rescala, and Gaudencio Thiago de Mello.

It is also used in dance.

It is a musical bow


The umuduri, a stringed instrument from Rwanda, is a prime example of this instrument. Its flexible wooden string bearer supports the bow and string, which is traditionally made from the animal gut or plant fiber.

While metal wire is becoming more widespread, the gourd is still the traditional attachment for the bow.  It is a musical bow that is not just used for playing classical music.

It is used by metal bands

The berimbau is a percussion instrument from Brazil. This instrument has one string and makes a deep twanging sound, depending on how much pressure is placed on the wire.

It is used as the backing rhythm in capoeira games. Metal bands often use this instrument, which was first used by Brazilian percussionist Max Cavalera.

Berimbaus are made of Brazilian biriba wood.

The bow is called the verga, and it is curved and 4 to 5 feet long. It is a resonator made of steel inside an old tire.

The verga is connected to a gourd by a tough string, called the cabaca.

Throughout history, berimbaus have been painted in vivid colors to attract tourists. Most modern berimbaus are made with bright colors and are not intended to be played live.

The instrument is used in metal bands because of its unique sound. Each member of the band is required to make a distinct sound on the instrument.

The berimbau uses all of its components to create distinct rhythms and timbres. The instruments are often backed by drums, which make the sound more powerful.

If you are interested in learning more about the berimbau, please consider this article. It will give you an idea of how it works and how it sounds.

Berimbau is a traditional Brazilian instrument. The main body of the instrument is made from a gourd, which is a wood with a concave back.

Other materials can be used to make berimbaus, such as coconut or calabash. The string is then divided by a string loop, which acts as a bridge.

Berimbaus are held in place by the little finger of the left hand.

What Is the Rimbau Used For?

What is the berimbau used for? This has long been a question for Brazilian musicians. Its origins can be traced back to the 1960s, when Nana Vasconcelos first played the instrument.

Nana Vasconcelos

In the 1990s, Vasconcelos began performing berimbau solo concerts in Italy and Japan.

Later, percussionists Peppe Consolmagno and Seichi Yamamura began playing the instrument in their own unique style.

These musicians have since contributed significantly to the berimbau’s performance lineage.

The berimbau is a stringed instrument, traditionally made of biriba wood.

It is played by hitting the string with a wooden bow and a steel string, which is often retrieved from an old car tire. The gourd is hollowed out and attached to the verga by a tough string.

It is used to make music, and in some cases acts as a resonator.

Since the 1950s, Brazilian berimbaus have been painted in bright colors.

These instruments are now used for entertainment purposes, but most of them follow the tradition of traditional berimbaus and maintain their authenticity.

The berimbau is an important instrument in the world of Capoeira.

Its history can be traced back to ancient Africa. According to Emilia Biancarde’s book “Raizes Musicais da Bahia,” the instrument has been around for about 15,000 years.

Biancarde says that cave paintings from the era indicate that the instrument has been in use for many thousands of years. Likewise, many other cultures have musical bows that are similar to the berimbau.

While the berimbau is used as a percussion instrument, it was also widely used as part of the daily life of Brazilians. Street vendors in colonial Rio de Janeiro wore berimbaus as part of their outfits.

Those who practice Capoeira are known as negros de ganho. They traded small goods and provided services for payment, and they used the berimbau to attract potential buyers.

The berimbau is played by striking the string with a thin stick (called a vareta or vaquita).

The left hand also holds a small stone or coin, known as a caxixi. These small objects are used to produce different sounds. However, they are not considered good practices.

In general, berimbau players don’t use other parts of the instrument, but they do strike the strings to produce different sounds.

The berimbau was first sold to the general public in the 1940s. However, they did not become popular until the 1990s, when they were produced in series of 100 pieces per week.

This was a time when the berimbau was primarily valued by its use, rather than by its exchange value.

However, the production of berimbau began to become geared towards profit and became an increasingly profitable business.

The main body of the Berimbau is called the Verga, while the cabaca is a hollowed gourd called the cabaca.

The cabaca’s shape is largely responsible for the instrument’s sound, and the cabaca is very delicate.

The cabaca is also connected to the caxixi, a small rope that is wound around it and threaded through the center. Usually, the cabaca is held down by nails.

It is an instrument of leisure and for work

The berimbau was first used by slaves to symbolize freedom. Later, during the capitalist system, the berimbau became a commodity.

A berimbau player would hold a dobrao, which is a large copper coin, in his hand, while playing. When the slaves were free, they would play the berimbau, which would make them feel liberated.

This instrument has a deep cultural significance in Brazil.

The berimbau is traditionally made of biriba wood, but some musicians have used other woods, such as bamboo.

However, bamboo does not hold up as well as biriba wood. The size of the berimbau should be between one and two millimeters.

There are also different types of cabacas, including extra large cabacas called berra-boi.

Some believe that the berimbau came from Africa, while others believe it originated in South America.

Emilia Biancarde, author of “Raizes Musicais da Bahia”, states that it was used in Africa 15,000 years before Christ.

She suggests that cave paintings from this era show images of musicians using the instrument.

Various cultures also have their own musical bows that resemble the berimbau.

The berimbau is used for both work and leisure. Negros de ganho played berimbau on the streets to relax.

This association between the berimbau and Capoeira developed over time.

Shaffer argues that the association between the two instruments was complete by the nineteenth century. The instrument was also included in modern compositions, including jazz and Brazilian folk music.

The berimbau has its own history of music and dance.

The four-movement Roda by Elliot Cole is the album’s star, and is the only piece not written by the ensemble members.

The work is influenced by process and minimalist music.

Although Cole’s compositional language is not entirely compatible with the berimbau, he treats the musical ideas in an unobtrusive way.

The “Turning” movement moves steadily forward while the “Sing” movement turns and whirls.