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What is Repinique?

Updated on March 28, 2015

What is Repinique?

Repinique is a Brazilian drum, which has a cylindrical shape. It plays the same musical role as the snare drum. However, it is different because it does not have a snare and has a relatively deeper sound. Repinique is metal-shelled and there is a plastic head on each of the drum’s end, which is strongly resonating.

Playing Repinique

Sound of Repinique

Due to the depth in construction of Repinique, the drum produces an explosive sound when played in middle-upper frequencies. The tuning of the plastic heads is really tight so as to produce the dry and sharp sound for which Repinique is widely known. When listening to Bateria, which is the term used for Brazilian samba groups, you will find Repinique to be the lead drum setting the tempo.

Creation of Repinique

Typically, metal is used for making the body of Repinique. The heads of the drum are made with nylon and metal tuning rods are used for tightening the heads. While Repinique resembles the snare drum, its diameter is generally smaller than that of the snare drum, which is known as Caixa. The height of Repinique is also lesser than that of the snare drum and this drum also lacks the snare.

Repinique chamadas

Origin of Repinique

Repinique has a Brazilian origin and it was introduced in samba percussion during the 1950s. At that time, Repinique was made of wood, which has now been replaced with metal. The heads, which are now made of plastic, were made naturally from goatskin at that time. The manner in which Repinique is played and used during performances has also changed considerably over the years.

Use and Playing of Repinique

In bateria, which is a band of drummers, the use of Repinique is common. Considering the right tuning of the heads of the drum for producing high tones, Repinique is used in solo performances and as the lead. This is because Repinique cuts through the rest of the group’s sounds. Most commonly, the leader of a group can be seen wearing Repinique on the hip with a strap on the shoulder. For small samba bands, Repinique is typically the drum that the conductor plays. Being the lead drum, it is Repinique that sets the tempo for the rest of the band. Mostly, in Rio-style samba, one hand and a short stick are used for playing Repinique. This helps the player in producing a variety of sounds with the drum. Two wooden sticks are mostly used for playing Repinique in Bahia style. Repinique is also used in Batucada, in which you will mostly see the leader playing the drum while having a whistle in the mouth. This is for assistance and establishing command over the rest of the players in the band.

Repinique is the prime musical instrument in a number of Brazilian style music bands and performances. It is an essential instrument because it sets the tone for any performance, to which the rest of the group responds. All these are the primary aspects that have made Repinique an indispensible instrument for playing Brazilian rhythms.

Dudu Tucci - Repinique Solo 2008 Berlin


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    • shai77 profile image

      Chen 5 years ago

      Thanks for your feedback, Pamela! The Repinique is a fun drum and I love the kind of noise it makes. I’m glad you enjoyed learning about it and I hope you’ll check out more of my hubs so you can keep learning about these fun sorts of things. :-)

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 5 years ago from United States

      I had no idea what a Repinique was until I read your hub. It's a great drum for pounding out that great rhythm. Rated up.