Term Paper: Music Culture: Congado

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[. . .] Repiques: Variations that are extreme in nature creating breaks from the original pattern of rhythm.

The repique temporarily transforms the basic pattern's nature. Generally the basic pattern is maintained by one drummer with another drummer or two playing the repique which results in a polyrhythmic structure. The "rhythmic behavior that is the functional complementaries of the groups in the ceremonies of Congado is evidenced on the musical level." The hierarchy determined that the Congo would be the initiator of the parades with Mocambique leading the royalty.

The drums each have a different pitch with the Marcacao being played by the drum of higher pitch while the Requesta is played by the other two lower pitched drums in the ceremony.

The Marcha Lenta, or "slow march" and Marcha Grave, or "grave march" have ritual functions quite different from one another which somewhat put limitations on the allowance of repiques. The more solemn part of the Congo ceremony as well as the mournful parts are both led by the Marcha Lenta and this is done without repiques in the rhythm. Performed in the parades and allowing repiques, the Marcha Grave is in tempo faster than the Marcha Lenta.

The basic patterns of rhythm are easily distinguished in the Mocambique due to the fact that at least one performer plays the base with other performing the repiques. However, in the Congo repiques are faster than those of the Mocambique are however the variation in the Mocambique are heavy with meaning and through their power the Candombe becomes emergent. In Lucas' account of the Congado Captain Joao Lopes from Jatoba states that:

Mocambique is a part of Candombe!"

This statement seems to serve as a reminder that the entirety of the ceremony is in relation to the creation story. The allowance of variation is noticeable in other group specifics especially instrumentation. The culture's music is undeniably connection to the music and is of a higher nature than the entertaining sector of music. The rhythm line of the Marcacao starts with a quarter rest and the rhythm line of the Requesta begins with a quarter note. Then follows two eighth notes played by the Marcacao, then two eighth notes played by the Requesta and finally two eighth notes by the Marcacao comprising one measure of the song.


The music is deeply expressive with the dance or choreography demonstrating passages of time. The music that is played in the Congado is sacred, belonging only to the rituals and is never played except for that purpose. The pageantry is of a nature that without having experienced it one can hardly give a deserving description and the essence of the music is not of the nature that words would do justice in the telling.


Glaura, Lucas (2002) "Music Rituals of Afro-Brazilian Religious Groups with the Ceremony of Congado." Yearbook for Traditional Music.

Glaura, Lucas (2002) "Music Rituals of Afro-Brazilian Religious Groups with the Ceremony of "Congado" Yearbook for Traditional Music


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