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The Music

The music of capoeira is perhaps the most important part of the roda. The bateria is located at the top of the roda and it is from here that players can enter the game. The musicians who play in the bateria lead the singing and everyone in the circle sings the chorus together. Capoeira music is one of the ways that its history, traditions, and stories have been kept alive. Songs can carry the melancholy tales of those oppressed by slavery but they can also celebrate the valient courage of great warriors who fought to free the Brazilian slaves. For more information about Mestre Marquinho Coreba’s music, visit our Music page.


Our group, Capoeira Gerais, has a bateria with three musicians playing the berimbau. The berimbau with the largest gourd is the “gunga,” the medium-sized one is the “media,” and the smallest, the “viola.” The gunga berimbau player takes the lead in setting the rhythm of the music. They are also responsible for setting the tone and rules for a safe and fun roda. The medio berimbau player follows the gunga’s lead, adding some variations to the rhythm. The instrument with the most improvisational freedom is the viola, which has the smallest gourd and therefore the highest pitch of the three berimbaus.

Other instruments also contribute to the strong percussion sound that Capoeira music is characterized by. They include a hand drum – “atabaque,” a tambourine – “pandeiro,” and the “agogô.”

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