Bongos come from Latin America and are an exotic addition to the orchestra. They’re joined in pairs, where one is a bit bigger than the other.
The body of each one is wooden, with a skin stretched across the top.
The ‘conga’ is like one big bongo drum, with a longer body.
To play it
They’re played either with the hands – tapping out complicated rhythms – or a choice of many different types of sticks, hammers, mallets or beaters.
Bongos make a colourful, high-pitched ‘bup-bup-bup’ sound.
Do You Know?
See if you can answer the questions below!
● Which best describes the sound of bongos?
● Where do bongos come from?
● Which part of the body might play the bongos?
● How many bongos are put together?
● Bongos are what?
Play More Music!
Here is more music to listen to. Click the + to see tracks and information about each work!
Selected Bongos Extracts
George Gershwin (1898–1937)
Cuban Overture (extract)
Gershwin delivers some hip-swaying Cuban-sounding music, where the brilliant bongos add just the right spice.
Performers: New Zealand Symphony Orchestra; James Judd
Taken from Naxos 8.559107
Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829–1869)
Symphonie romantique, ‘A Night in the Tropics’: II. Festa Criolla (‘Creole Festival’) (extract)
Bongos plus a few other things besides, including cowbells. Fun and flamboyant, this may get you up and dancing!
Performers: Hot Springs Music Festival Symphony Orchestra; Richard Rosenberg
Taken from Naxos 8.559036