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Capoeira Angola Music and Game
Capoeira instruments are disposed in a row called bateria. It is traditionally formed by three berimbaus, two pandeiros, one atabaque, one agogô and one ganzá, but this format may vary depending on the Capoeira group's traditions or the roda style.
The berimbau is the leading instrument, determining the tempo and style of the music and game played. Two low pitch berimbaus (called berra-boi and médio) form the base and a high pitch berimbau (called viola) makes variations and improvisations. The other instruments must follow the berimbaus rhythm, free to vary and improvise a little, depending upon the Capoeira group's musical style.
As the capoeiristas change their playing style significantly following the toque of the berimbau, which sets the game's speed, style and aggressiveness, it is truly the music that drives a Capoeira game.
Many of the songs are sung in a call and response format while others are in the form of a narrative. Capoeiristas sing about a wide variety of subjects. Some songs are about history or stories of famous capoeiristas. Other songs attempt to inspire players to play better. Some songs are about what is going on within the roda. Sometimes the songs are about life or love lost. Others have lighthearted and playful lyrics.
There are different rhythms (called toques) that are played by the berimbau during the roda that will determine the mood and the game to be played. Some toques were created so capoeiristas could communicate with each other within the roda without having to say a word.
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