Bateria Formations

Oi na tradição de seu Mestre Pastinha
Tem o gunga , médio, e viola,
Meu gungo toca marcado
O médio dobra a viola
Berimbau Chamou Voce

Bateria is the word used in capoeira to describe the musical line up.Note that any capoeira school can be found using any of the listed setups for one reason or the other. A regional school may be found using an Angola style setup and vice versa. Sometimes it’s for practical reasons like not having enough students to play instruments. Or simply not having all the instruments. and vice versa.

bateria

Bateria de Contemporâneo

Bateria de Mestre Bimba

This was Mestre Bimba’s signature setups which includes:

  • 1 Berimbau (usually Médio)
  • 2 Pandeiros

In this setup the Berimbau as always keeps the pace of the game by dictating the toque. Little variation is played by the cantador usually in between the coro. One pandeiro plays straight while the other should put in more variation and accents according to what’s going on in the game and also the song.

Advantages

  • It only requires three capoeristas which leaves more students free to play in the roda.
  • Only one berimbau means in schools with limited number of proficient berimbau players, the setup is ideal.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • It completely neglects the use of the atabaque which is part of the roots of capoeira. Note that this was done intentionally by Mestre Bimba to distance the art from candomblé.
  • It does not encourage students to practice playing the berimbau since the instructor would most likely be the only one playing.

Bateria de Regional

This is the setup commonly found in most modern regional schools and is becoming the standard regional setup especially when there are not enough students proficient in the instruments.

  • 1 Berimbau
  • 1 Pandeiro
  • 1 Atabaque

It builds on Bimba’s setup by replacing the second pandeiro with the Atabaque to fill in the low end.

Advantages

  • It only requires three capoeristas which leaves more students free to play in the roda.
  • Only one berimbau means in schools with limited number of proficient berimbau players, the setup is ideal.
  • We see the atabaque included as it is missing in Bimba’s setup.
  • Three students on three different instruments offers more diversity in the bateria compared to Bimba’s setup.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • It does not encourage students to practice playing the berimbau since the instructor would most likely be the only one playing.
  • The atabaque could easily over shadows the berimbau

Bateria de Angola

This is the setup currently found in most modern Angola schools:

  • 3 Berimbaus (Gunga, Médio, Viola)
  • 1 or 2 Pandeiro(s)
  • 1 Atabaque
  • 1 Agôgo
  • 1 Reco-Reco

In this very traditional setup we see all the capoeira instruments being used. It is like an ancient african orchestra.

Advantages

  • The complete spirit of capoeira comes alive with all the musical elements of its history.
  • Students get to play the berimbau along side a mestre or other experienced players which will encourage them to practice and improve.
  • Students learn to play many variations, especially whoever plays the viola.
  • More students get to play the instruments and get an idea of the rhythm by playing something even as simple as the reco-reco or agôgo.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Requires a large enough group to have enough players left to play the game.
  • Some instruments may be lost in the mix so students may not know their full competences in these instruments.

Bateria de Contemporâneo

This is the setup commonly found in contemporary schools. It’s a blend between Bimba’s setup and the tradtional Angola setup. An example of a group that uses this as a standard is Grupo Muzenza de Capoeira and Grupo Capoeira Brasil.

  • 3 Berimbaus (Gunga, Médio, Viola)
  • 1 or 2 Pandieros
  • 1 Atabaque

As a majority of otherwise regional capoeira schools today consider themselves contemporâneo, this formation is probably most common in the capoeira world today.

Advantages

  • It allows for more students to participate in the instruments and also generally makes the bateria louder and more melodic.
  • Students get to play the berimbau along side a mestre or other experienced players which will encourage them to practice and improve.
  • Students learn to play many variations, especially whoever plays the viola.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Requires a large enough group to have enough players left to play the game.

Like in the other baterias, the Gunga player usually leads the songs. Though it is not uncommon for him or her to pass the song along to either the Medio or Viola. And in more informal rodas pretty much any member of the bateria can raise a song.

1 Comment
  1. Siriguejo 4 years ago

    nice page and all your descriptions are pretty accurate. however it should be noted that when you are talking about these bataria formations that these are all rather recent (20th Century) formations established during the academy period of capoeira. that is to say capoeira da rua does not follow these rules and therefor there are no real qualifications for forming a roda other than the rules established by one’s group. for example G. Mestre Dunga commonly has a triangle, anywhere from 2 to X berimbaus, and he himself plays a tantan and samba whistle during the roda.

    also it should be noted that M. Bimba was against having an atabaque in the roda because he was trying to distance the art form from condomble which at the time had a very negative public opinion at the time

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