Alexandre Damasceno

Instrumental Adaptations of Brazilian Rhythms: A Reflection About the Possibilities of Adaptation of Brazilian Popular Percussion to the Drums

The relationship between the drums instrument and Brazilian rhythms has recently been discussed more clearly and objectively in authors such as Bolão (2003) and Gomes (2008). Both are examples of a bibliography specific to the instrument, which arises with the objective, among others, of systematizing some mechanisms for the execution of Brazilian rhythms on drums. More than the attempt to standardize a modus operandi of execution, these methods provide means of organizing and ordering the teaching / study of rhythms such as Samba, Baião, Maracatu, Frevo, for example, and which, as recurrently observed in performative practice, they derive directly from the rhythmic lines played by the percussion instruments. (Bolão, 2003, p.11 and Gomes, 2008, p.3)

This work proposes a systematization on patterns of instrumental adaptation for the drums, based on Brazilian rhythms originally performed by percussion instruments presented in Brazilian popular music. Having as central question the possibility of the drums being able or not to supply the absence of the percussion, we analyzed musical excerpts from musics already recorded, where we find these adaptations present in the drummer’s performance. From the results obtained, four models of instrumental adaptation were proposed. Are they:

  1. Literal adaptation: form of adaptation that incorporates to the drums the percussion instrument itself, which then becomes part of the setup and can be played along with the other instruments.
  2. Timbre adaptation: it aims to imitate the timbre of the percussion instrument, using the pieces normally present in a conventional setup of drums: bass drum, snare, tom- toms, floor ton and cymbals.
  3. Rhythmic adaptation: This procedure is based on the rhythmic line played by the original instrument and, without the need to be aware of the timbristic proximity, this line is played on a certain part of the drums.
  4. Onomatopoeic adaptation: is the procedure based on the use of onomatopoeias, such as “telecoteco” and “ziriguidum”. To achieve the imitation of these “spoken sounds,” one or more of the adaptations described above is used for this. As an example, we will be based on the onomatopoeia “ziriguidum”. It is related to the functions of conduction and marking in samba, where we can relate the syllable “dum” to the time marking, which is played in the floor tom, if we assume that od has an attack similar to the contact of the drumstick on the skin, or, that is a closed vowel, associate the bass sound of this drum with its characteristic resonance. In the same way we can associate the syllables with the vowel i and the consonants z and r, of acute timbres, the platinelas of the tambourine or the own ganzá.

The main objective of this work is the adequacy of the results obtained throughout this research to the performance and pedagogy of the instrument. We will develop a methodology for the improvement of musical groups in an academic and artistic context. Perceiving the relations between the drummer’s musical discourses and the rest of the group, will facilitate the systematization of pedagogical procedures in practical classes together, assisting and directing with additional specificities the pedagogical objectives proposed by the teacher.


GIMC — CESEM, FCSH, Nova University, Portugal

Currently studying for a Doctorate in Musical Arts by Universidad Nova de Lisboa, Master in Music – UNICAMP in the area of Musical Performance, Specialist in Teaching in Higher Education by FMU and Bachelor in Music – Drum instrument – by the Faculty of Arts Alca!ntara Machado. He is a drum teacher in the Alca!ntara Machado Arts Faculty and the Sa”o Caetano do Sul Arts Foundation. As an instrumentalist, he participated in the recording of CDs / DVDs among they are the DVD of Zizi Possi, “Para Ingle!s Ver e Ouvir”, nominated for the TIM 2006 Award, the CDs “Nem” and “Emily” of the singer and composer Cid Campos and the CD Piratininga, of the group Aquilo Del Nisso. He has also participated in concerts with artists such as Phil de Greg, Henry Greindl, Eva Jagun, Iva Bittova, Caetano Veloso, Arnaldo Antunes, Jaques Morelenbaum, Guinga, Gal Costa and many others.