The main instrument is called the Berimbau. It is a music arc that is made of the very elastic Biriba wood which only grows in Brazil. The wooden stick (Verga) is spanned with a metal string (Arame). A hollow pumpkin (Cabaça) is used as sounding body. In his hand the musician holds a wooden rattle (Caxixi), a drum stick (Baqueta) and a coin or a stone (Dobrão).
The playing of the Berimbau requests finger force as well as coordination and a feeling for rhythm.
There are different Berimbaus with different sounding bodies:
Gunga: a deep tuned Berimbau. In the beginning of the roda it is played first. Traditionally it is used for the basic rhythm.
Medio: a middle high tuned Berimbau. It is insinuated after the Gunga. It plays the tact of the basic rhythm in backwards.
Viola: a high tuned Berimbau. It is insinuated as the last of the Berimbaus and it only plays improvisations of the basic rhythm.
After the Berimbaus the Atabaque is insinuated in the roda. The Atabaque is a big rope drum with deep tuning that supports the basic rhythm.
Another instrument in Capoeira is the Pandeiro, a kind of tambourine which supports the Berimbau rhythms and emphasizes the basic rhythm, too. In a roda the Pandeiro is insinuated after the Atabaque.
As the last and smallest instrument there is still the Agogô. It is a double metal bell which is stroken with a wooden stick. In a roda this is the last instrument to begin.
Apart from the instruments the songs are very important in Capoeira. The songs are sung in portuguese and are partly still from the times of slavery.
In Capoeira there are three kinds of songs which you sing to:
Ladainhas are used in Angola games. The long, measured strophes often tell entire stories.
Quadras are used in Benguela. Also here you sing long strophes which are shorter though than Ladainhas.
Corridos are sung in São Bento Grande. These are short pieces in which one capoeirista sings whereas the group of the roda answers in a choir.