TRADITIONAL SAMBA INSTRUMENTS
The Surdo is the big samba bassdrum and is usually played with one hand and a stick with a big felt ball. In a batteria are usually at least three surdos, playing three different patterns, forming the backbone of the music.
The Caixa is the samba snare drum, playing difficult contra rhythm.
They have to work real hard! They are maybe the strongest part of a batteria.
The Repenique also plays an integral part in a samba battería; It is often played with one hand and one stick and accentuates the backbeat, by using the hand for the first beat of the measure. The Repenique gives the calls and breaks in a composition.
The Agogo comes in quite a few shapes and forms; sometimes they are made of wood, but mostly metal. and always consist of a minimum of two tones. Some are flexible and you can squash the two bells together, to play ghostnotes in between.
The big metal shaker in samba music is called the Ganza. They only play one at a time and is usually shook in patterns of three and are very loud in sound
The Tamborim is a small drum, hit with a plastic splitstick and has a very acquired technique;
In between i.e. the second and third note the drum is turned around, so you get a sound hitting it from two directions; down and up. It makes it great to watch people play this instrument.
The Samba Whistle has 3 sounds to play around with, depending which holes are closed.
Often used by the leader of a batteria, to direct the group.
VARIOUS BRAZILIAN INSTRUMENTS
The Timbal is sometimes used in a samba batteria too, but is not traditionally part of it. The role of this instrument quite resemble the role of the african Djembé. However, the Timbal is very light-weight has a plastic skin, is long and cone-shaped and therefore actually looks more like a Conga. Often can be heard in Samba reggae and sometimes in Capoeira.
The Pandeiro looks quite like an ordinairy Tambourine, with bells in the rim and a plastic or goat skin head. However, the technique of the Pandeiro is very acquired. Similar to the Bongos, the techique holds to use the handpalm, tip and thumb as seperate strokes and sounds.
These Caxixi's are shakers derived from Ghanaian Ashanti shakers. Made of rattan, with seeds inside and one hard side of Calebas gives different sound effects when turning the shakers during play.