Atabaque

Name: Atabaque.
Type: Membranophones > Drums > Barrel > Single Headed >
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 211.221.1
Diameter: cm.
Country: Brazil.
Region: South America.

Description: The atabaque [in IPA: /ɑːtəˈbɑːkiː/; In Brazilian Portuguese: ataˈbaki]. It is a tall Afro-Brazilian hand drum. The atabaque is used in Caopoeira, Maculelê, and the Afro-Brazilian religions of Candomblé and Ubanda. This drum is considered sacred in both religions. The main instrument in Candomblé is the drum [Atabaque], a membrane of animal skin is attached to the body of the drum with cord-and-peg tension.

Distribution: Throughout Africa the atabaque shares a distribution arch roughly congruent with the agogo [the struck double iron bell]. This region included Guinea Coast from the Niger River and west to Benin, Togo, Ghana, and beyond West Africa. Cord-and-peg tension drums appeared in Bahia, Suriname, St. Domingue, Cuba, and the southern states of America. These drums traveled with the Ewe, Fon, Akan, and Yoruba people during the New World diaspora.

Varieties: There are three types of atabaque; the tallest having the lowest pitch; rum-pi, rum-pi of medium height and the the lê being the smallest and highest pitched.

Construction: The shell is made traditionally from Jacaranda wood [Jacaranda caerulea] from Brazil. The head is traditionally made from calf skins. A system of ropes are intertwined around the body, connecting a metal ring near the base is sometimes known as “Atabaque De Corda”.

Wooden wedges are jammed in between this ring and the body. A hammer is used to tighten or loosen the ropes, raising or lowering the pitch of the drum.

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