From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Music instrument alfaia.jpg
Percussion instrument
Classification Membranophone
Hornbostel–Sachs classification 211.212.1
(Cylindrical drums with two usable membranes)
Developed Brazil
Different sized Alfaias

The alfaia is a Brazilian membranophone. It is a wooden drum made of animal skin tensioned or loosened through ropes placed alongside the body of the instrument.

Alfaias are usually between 16 and 22 inches in diameter. Their construction is similar to 19th-century U.S. and European military or field drums, bombos, and other Latin American wooden bass drums. Their drumheads are clamped to the body with large wooden hoops, and they are played with distinctly shaped fat wooden drumsticks. Sometimes the stick in the dominant hand is a little larger than the one used in the weaker hand.

Traditionally strapped over the shoulder, alfaias are played with a distinctive technique, and players hold the weak-hand drumstick inverted to get the proper attack on the head. Alfaias are also known as "Rope-surdos" or "Maracatu-drums", and the largest ones are called "Alfaia-marcante". The medium-sized drums are called "Alfaia-meião". The alfaia has a characteristic deep, heavy sound, different from other bass drums such as the surdo or kick-drum, and they are used mainly in the northeastern folk rhythms and dances of Brazil, such as Maracatu, Ciranda and Coco-de-roda.

External links[edit]