Rhythm Tip – Samba Reggae

Rhythm Tip #1


This pattern is part of several rhythm styles from the northeast of Brazil and is played on a variety of instruments including tamborim, agogo, and caixa as well as guitar and keyboards. It is a very simple and elegant way of getting the clave feeling and the “up beat” feeling in one pattern. It is probably best knon as the tamborim pattern for Samba Reggae.

This rhythm pattern is shown above written in Time Unit Box notation. To feel the pattern say “ta ta ta ta” at a moderate rate, perhaps four “ta” for every heart beat. These “ta” are the boxes. Next, keep saying “ta” and tap your foot one time for every four “ta.” These foot taps represent the red square, which is the main beat. Now clap on the squares with the X. If you do this correctly, you should hear a very interesting pattern which does not coincide with the main beat at all, yet very clearly implies it.

Here is what the pattern looks like written in staff notation. It could be written several different ways, but I think this one best conveys the correct feeling.


Enjoy experimenting with this pattern. You can rearrange it in all kinds of interesting ways.

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