Highlights of Musical
About the works
The Coming Decline of Frevo
Tambourine Playing in Brazil
The African Influence in Brazilian Music
Frevo Steps and Music
Art and Artists
In Terms of Music from São Paulo
A Mistaken Analysis of a Brazilian Rhythm
Scales in Brazilian Folk Music
The Indians of Petrópolis
Índios or Cabôcos of Petrópolis
Notes on Playing Marbles
Variations on the Boi
Variations on the Baião
Variations on the Maxixe
A Traditional Northeastern Band
A Gazeta – São Paulo,
October 25, 1958.
The name “zabumba”
is not just the name of the popular bombo (large bass drum).
In the Northeast at least “Zabumba” is also a traditional
band typical of the region’s culture.
The formation of
the Zabumba varies according to the area and economic resources
[purchasing of instruments]. If, for example, a band in Alagoas
normally has three pífanos [bamboo flutes] and drums, in
Pernambuco the group has two pífanos, tarol [snare drum]
and a zabumba [bombo]. In the large cities – with
the sole exception of Recife – there is an abundance of cymbals,
played by just one musician. The group usually has four to six musicians.
bands are a must at all parties, open or private, attended by the
average citizen. They are heard in the squares, playing on the bandstands,
and at weddings, birthdays and official religious celebrations,
including novenas and processions.
For this reason
they have an extremely varied repertoire, with both tonal [in the
classical sense] and modal music. Here are some of the musical forms
they play: Marcha, as seen in the South; Dobrado,
idem; Dobrado-de-igreja, played in front of the Catholic
church from which a procession leaves; Marcha-caminheira,
to “accompany the saint” in the procession; Frevo, the traditional
Pernambuco march; Tango, the Brazilian Tango, which in Rio de Janeiro
is called the Maxixe, as the researcher deduced; Baião,
in its many forms; Abaianada, a curious specimen with Baião
and Tango; Martelo, a variant of the former; Valsa-sonora,
that is to say slow and sentimental; Novena, a type of funeral march;
etc., etc., Also: Choro; Waltz; Polka; Quadrille; Galope;
Samba, in any style – and the list goes on. They could even be playing
Boleros these days... in their own way, of course, reviving
it and taking out its cosmopolitism and gloominess.
In addition, Zabumbas play special
songs for the different moments of the Cavalhadas and sometimes
accompany the dança do Côco. Yet the most curious numbers
in their extensive repertoires are the descriptive Duets, meant
for listening and not for dancing. It is traditional [...]. The
panther and the dog, with its spirited instrumental effects. But
the people also make up songs telling fictitious stories with symbolic
characters, usually as satire or social commentary.
The name Zabumba
may be the most common one for these bands, but people do use other
names too. We heard the following, some more, others less, according
to sources: Tabocal, Terno, Terno-de-oréia, Pifeiros, Banda-de-pife,
Matuá, Zabumbeiros, Esquenta-mulher, Quebra-resguardo and Carapeba.
The following names are used in Alagoas: Esquenta-mulher and
Carapeba. The bibliography documents the following names:
Cabaçal [in Ceará; it is unheard of in the areas of Pernambuco
I visited]. Cutilada [Paraíba], Música-de-pife, Zabumba-de-couro,
Música-cabaçal, Banda-cabaçal, Terno-de-zabumba and Terno-de-música.
Since the Zabumba
pífanos are made of bamboo, the instruments always produce
a gentle sound, even when played energetically; the percussion instruments
restrain themselves to achieve the appropriate intensity. These
are the things that make Zabumbas normally very pleasing,
but with room for the variety and rhythmic drive characteristic
of folk music.