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Berimbau

Berimbau

The berimbau is perhaps one of the most primitive musical instruments. It can be found in various cultures of the world like in New Mexico (the USA), Patagonia, South and Central Africa, and Brazil. In Brazil the berimbau arrived with the African slaves who were brought to Brazil already in the sixteenth century. It is an percussion instrument and belongs to the family of the chordophones. In Brazil it is used traditionally in ceremonies of Candomblé and capoeira to mark the rhythm of the fight. The berimbau is composed of a wooden bow about 1,20m in length and an iron wire (wire of an automobile tyre) tight to the extremities of the bow, giving it the form of an arc. On the lower extremity a hollow open calabash is fixed, that functions as a resonance body. The player uses a pick, called "dobrão", a rod, and a caxixi to produce the sounds of the berimbau. The player holds the berimbau with the left hand near the calabash. With the same hand he holds the dobrão that during the beating of the rod on the berimbau will be pressed against the wire changing the tone of the berimbau. The calabash ought to be on the height of the abdomen of the player in this way being able to modify the sound by approaching and moving away the calabash from his body. With the wooden rod in the right hand the player executes the strokes on the wire of the berimbau and in the same hand he holds the caxixi that creates a "basis" accompaniment to the sound of the calabash.

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