Music is of vital importance to the practice of capoeira. Without it there is no energy & no roda. To begin training capoeira you may just study the movements of capoeira, but as you progress through the levels of training you will learn to play the instruments and to sing the songs of capoeira.
The orchestra (Bateria) of capoeira is defined differently by each capoeira group. Traditionally in Capoeira Regional, one berimbau and two pandeiros were used, and Capoeira Angola still uses all the musical instruments – three Berimbaus, an Atabaque, two pandeiros, an Agogo and Reco-reco to make up the Bateria of Capoeira Angola.
For a complete roda Capoeira Aruanda uses three Berimbaus, an Atabaque, two Pandeiros, and the use of Agogo is optional.
The berimbau is the primary instrument in Capoeira. Its leads the other instruments and dictates the rhythm and pace of the roda.
The origins of the Berimbau are not clear, though there is little doubt that it has African origins as there are no Indigenous Brazilian or European instruments like it; and similar instruments can be found in southern parts of Africa.
The berimbau consists of a wooden bow (verga – traditionally made from biribá wood, which grows in Brazil), strung tightly with a steel wire (arame – usually pulled from the inside of a car tire) secured from one end of the verga to the other. A gourd (cabaça), dried, opened and hollowed-out, attached to the lower portion of the Verga by a loop of tough string, acts as a resonator.To play this instrument one strikes the wire with a thin stick (baqueta – usually wooden) whilst pressing against the wire a small stone or coin (pedra or dobrão). Pressing the stone; hard, loosely or not at all you will create a different sound. a shaker (caxixi) may also be held in the same hand as the baqueta.
Berimbaus must be tuned for their sound to work harmoniously and there are 3 specific ways to tune a Berimbau.
Gunga (or Berra-boi): lowest tone.
Médio (others say viola): medium tone.
Viola (violinha if the medium tone is viola): highest tone