Published October 26, 2015 | Version 0.1.0
Dataset Open

Uruguayan candombe drumming - beat and downbeat tracking data set

  • 1. Universidad de la República


Uruguayan Candombe drumming - beat and downbeat data set


This dataset includes more than 2 hours of Candombe recordings, with annotated beats and downbeats. It features 35 complete performances by renowned players, playing in groups of three to five drums. A total of 26 tambor players from various generations took part, representing the three key traditional Candombe styles. These recordings were created in a studio setting over a period of more than two decades as part of musicological research. The sessions from 1992 and 1995 were produced by Luis Jure, and the session from 2014 was produced by Luis Jure and Martín Rocamora.

The audio files are in stereo with a sampling rate of 44.1 kHz and 16-bit precision. An expert annotated the location of beats and downbeats, totaling more than 4700 downbeats. The audio is provided in flac format and the annotations are in .csv files. The values in the first column of the CSV file represent the time instants of the beats. The numbers in the second column indicate both the bar number and the beat number within the bar. For example, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, and 1.4 represent the four beats of the first bar. Therefore, each label ending in .1 indicates a downbeat. Another set of annotations is provided as .beats files in which the bar numbers are removed.


This dataset was released with the publication of the following paper. So if you find the dataset useful and want to reference it in your publications, please cite it.

"Beat and Downbeat Tracking Based on Rhythmic Patterns Applied to the Uruguayan Candombe Drumming”. Leonardo Nunes, Martín Rocamora, Luis Jure, Luiz W. P. Biscainho. Proceedings of the 16th International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference (ISMIR 2015), pages 264-270, Málaga, Spain, 26-30 October, 2015.

    author = {Leonardo Nunes and Martín Rocamora and Luis Jure and Luiz W. P. Biscainho},
    title = {{Beat and Downbeat Tracking Based on Rhythmic Patterns Applied to the Uruguayan Candombe Drumming}},
    booktitle = {Proceedings of the 16th International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference (ISMIR 2015)},
    month = {Oct.},
    address = {Málaga, Spain},
    pages = {264--270},
    year = {2015}


Candombe is a vital part of Uruguayan popular culture, with thousands of practitioners and its rhythm influencing various genres of popular music. In 2009, UNESCO recognized it as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. While it originated in Uruguay, Candombe has its roots in the culture brought by African slaves in the 18th century. Over time, it has evolved to incorporate the descendants of European immigrants and has become a part of the entire society. Candombe drumming, with its unique rhythm, is the essential element of this tradition, which also includes dancing, symbolic characters, and costumes.

The drum used in Candombe is called tambor, which is Spanish for "drum." There are three different sizes: chico (small), repique (medium), and piano (big). Each size has its own unique sound, ranging from high to low frequency, and its own specific rhythmic patterns. All three drums are played with a stick in the dominant hand and the other one hitting the skin directly. The stick is also used to hit the shell when playing the clave or madera pattern. A minimal ensemble of drums (cuerda de tambores) must have at least one of each of the three drums. During a llamada de tambores, the ensemble usually consists of around 20 to 60 drums. When marching, the players walk forward with short steps synchronized with the beat, which is important for embodying the rhythm, even though it is not audible.


This work was partially supported by the funding agency Comisión Sectorial de Investigación Científica, Universidad de la República, Uruguay, and by the Department of Culture of the Municipality of Montevideo.

This is the complete list of performers, in alphabetical order: Mariano Barroso, Eduardo 'Cacho' Giménez, Eduardo 'Malumba' Giménez, Francisco Giménez, José Luis Giménez, Jorge 'Foqué' Gómez, José Pedro 'Perico' Gularte, Luis 'Pocholo' Maciel, Julio Magariños, Raúl 'Neno' Magariños, Marcelo Magariños, Javier 'Cerdo' Martirena, Wilson Martirena, Eduardo 'Tierra' Nilo, Sergio Ortuño, Fernando 'Lobo' Núñez, Edinson 'Palo' Oviedo, Gustavo Oviedo, Egdardo Pintos, Luis 'Mocambo' Quiroz, Rodolfo 'Pelado' Rodríguez, Fernando 'Hurón' Silva, Juan Silva, Raúl Silva, Waldemar 'Cachila' Silva, and Héctor Manuel Suárez.


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