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The surdo


The surdo

(Diameter: from 14 to 24 inches, depth: approximatively 50 cm, shell in chromed or painted aluminum, or bent and varnished plywood, steel tension rods and hoops, natural or plastic skin).

This is the big drum that marks the time (the "beat", the "batuc"). It is symbolically associated with the rhythm of the heart and steps of musicians, as well as dancers, as in many polyrhythms around the world (such as bass drum in marches in Europe, for example). The lowest and most round of the Brazilian instruments, it can be discreet closely to highlight the chorus of high and dry instruments, while having high persistent decibels in the distance (this is the first instrument that is heard far before seeing in the street parades). In samba, two "marcation" ("marking") surdos alternate a low and high note, and a third at least improvises heady and varied melodies (this is especially true with samba-reggae, imitating the complex patterns of reggae bass guitar), thus approaching African drums (dununs, for example (see "dununs")).

Surdo bats

The Surdo is played with a bat (called also "mallet" or "beater") with plush or felt with the right hand, and is accompanied by fingers strokes of the left hand (which muffles or lets resonate the skin, thereby varying the tone as a cuica (see "cuica")). The surdo can also be played with two mallets (in samba-reggae, Nordeste style initiated by the parade band Olodum from Salvador of Bahia and played by the Franco-Brazilian band Tupi Nago, for example).

back up

This instrument is recommended for players with a strong back!

Types of stroke:

left hand fingers stroke
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1: left hand fingers muffled stroke open stroke

right hand bat (mallet, beater) stroke muffled by pressing the left hand
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2: right hand bat (mallet, beater) stroke muffled by pressing the left hand

open (resonant) Bat stroke
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3: open (resonant) Bat stroke

hit on the rim (hoop) with the shaft of the bat
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4: hit on the rim (hoop) with the shaft of the bat

Le surdo symmetric playing (ambidextrous) with two bats
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5: symmetric playing (ambidextrous) with two bats

Marc De Douvan, October 2005, translation in English: May 2013.

© 2005 Marc de Douvan Crédits Mentions légales