Samba is an Afro-Brazilian dance and music form. The term was used to describe a circular West African dance.


Samba was urbanized in the 1800s. It was played in bars and later carnival. The popularity of samba grew in the 1920s and 30s. It became part of pre-Lenten Carnival celebrations in Rio de Janeiro. By the 1960s, it began to be influenced by bossa nova.

Elements and Styles

Samba is characterize by 2/4 time, melodies that are syncopated with a call and response style of singing. Singing is typically accompanied by a large drum ensemble.

Works Cited

"Samba." Microsoft® Encarta® 2006 [DVD]. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation, 2005. Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2006. © 1993-2005 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.