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The Berimbau is originally an African instrument. It later became part of the Afro-Brazilian martial arts dance called "Capoeira". The Berimbau consists of a wooden bow with a metal wire and a gourd resonator.
Various pitches can be selected by sliding the gourd to different positions on the wire. A stick is tapped against the wire to produce sound. Tone will vary by the point at which the stick hits the wire. Striking at its tip will produce a different tone than striking close to where the stick is held. The pitch is altered by pressing a coin or stone firmly against the wire. While the stick plays a rhythm on the wire a shaker is often held in the same hand as the stick. By moving the gourd's opening back and forth with the open end placed against the stomach, you can produce a "wah - wah" type sound.
Matt installs a gear driven tuning peg to put tension on the wire. The wire is an incredibly strong German piano wire. This gives the bow great tone and longer life. Most Berimbaus have the bow wire or string wrapped around the wood at the top and bottom for tension. By adding two metal bridges to isolate the wire from the wood Matt gives his Berimbaus the ability to sustain notes longer.
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