Part 2: More Tamborim Independence Patterns

Welcome back to our series on Brazilian samba drumming! In this lesson I’ll cover some ideas to help you develop more independence for your hands and feet, to in turn help you create new musical grooves and colors. We’ll accomplish this by practicing 16th-note permutations on the snare, bass drum, and hi-hat pedal underneath the typical samba tamborim rhythm that we covered in part 1.

To review, it’s important that you start by playing the main tamborim rhythm while singing each of the four possible 16th-note partials. Exercise 1 demonstrates the main tamborim ostinato we’ll use throughout this lesson.

Sing these individual 16th-note partials while maintaining the tamborim rhythm with your lead hand.

After you feel comfortable playing the tamborim pattern and singing each 16th-note partial separately, we can start singing groups of two 16th notes while maintaining the tamborim rhythm. Here are some of the possible two-note permutations that we’ll employ in this lesson.

Let’s move the tamborim pattern to the hi-hat while playing the two-note groupings of 16ths on the snare, as demonstrated in Exercise 5. Remember to practice slowly with a metronome.

Next we’ll move the 16th-note groupings to the bass drum underneath our tamborim ostinato, as notated in the following example.

Exercise 7 demonstrates an example of how to develop independence with the left foot playing the hi-hat pedal in this setting. A good idea is to play and sing the tamborim pattern while working through each one of the following 16th-note phrases with the left foot. In this exercise, play the tamborim pattern on a cowbell.

When you feel comfortable playing the tamborim pattern together with each one of the 16th-note hi-hat pedal patterns, try playing a whole samba groove with the cowbell, snare, and bass drum while playing the previous hi-hat foot figures.

Exercise 8 demonstrates the main samba groove.

Have fun practicing and playing this material. And be sure to head to to check out video demonstrations of this lesson. You can also find many examples on my YouTube channel (, where I apply the concepts and grooves from this lesson in a musical setting. See you next time!

Kiko Freitas is a Brazilian drummer, educator, and international clinician who’s performed with Joåao Bosco, Michel Legrand, Nico Assumpåo, Milton Nascimento, Chico Buarque, and Frank Gambale, among others. Freitas endorses Pearl drums, Paiste cymbals, Vic Firth sticks, and Gavazzi cases. For more information, visit