Alfaia Alfaia is a Brazilian instrument from the membranophone family, in which the sound is obtained through the strike of a membrane (called skin or drumhead) of the instrument. It is a wooden drum of animal skins that are tensioned or loosened through ropes placed alongside the body of the instrument.

Alfaias often have a rustic, natural look, and they are usually between 16 and 22 inches in diameter. Their construction is similar to 19th-century U.S. and European military/field drums, bombos, and other Latin American wooden bass drums. Their drumheads are clamped to the body with big wooden hoops, and they are played with distinctly shaped fat wooden drumsticks. Sometimes the stick in the dominant hand is a little larger than the one used in the weaker hand.

Traditionally strapped over the shoulder, Alfaias are played with a distinctive technique, and players hold the weak-hand drumstick inverted to get the proper attack on the head.

Alfaias are also known as Rope-surdos or Maracatu-drums, and the largest ones are called Alfaia-marcante. The medium-sized drums are called Alfaia-meião.

The Alfaia has a characteristic deep, heavy sound, different from other bass drums such as the surdo or kick-drum, and they are used mainly in the northeastern folk rhythms/dances of Brazil, such as Maracatu, Ciranda and Coco-de-roda.