What Is a Box Drum or Cajon?

There's been a wonderful surge in desire in box drums recently. You will see and listen to them everywhere in all varieties of music from flamenco to entire world to bluegrass, jazz, fusion, pop, rock and hip-hop. American Idol has even featured a percussionist in the home band who often delivers it downstage to accompany an acoustic unplugged overall performance.

So what is a box drum?

Box drums, also popularly identified by their Spanish identify, cajón (pronounced ka - hone) are really very aged. They have been designed in the 1700's by African slaves in coastal locations of Peru. As their Spanish overlords forbade them from having any musical instruments, a single theory is that these instruments ended up fashioned from the shipping and delivery crates and containers that have been being unloaded off ships. Slaves sitting down on packing containers starting make beats and there you have a new drum.

The word "cajón" virtually interprets as drawer in Spanish. So an additional principle is that some enterprising musician pulled out his wood drawer and started actively playing beats on the slender wooden bottom surface. Whatsoever the true story is, the box drum has been heard in Peruvian people songs for generations.

Integration into Flamenco audio and beyond

In the 1980's, planet renowned flamenco guitarist Paco DeLucia was provided a cajón by a Peruvian maker as a gift. DeLucia was fascinated with the sound and experienced it incorporated into snare cajon . Someplace together the way, they started experimenting with introducing guitar strings managing alongside the faceplate of the drum. This additional a sizzle result which proved really beneficial. By hanging different areas on the drum you could get a great facsimile of a total kit audio with this one portable box! I've listened to these drums currently being employed in jazz, folk, bluegrass and even in songs treatment classes and kindergartens.


The design and style of the box drum is quite much unchanged from times of previous. It is a box about eighteen inches tall with a sq. footprint of about one particular foot by one particular foot. The percussionist sits straddled on the box and the entrance surface is struck by the hands. By hitting with various parts of the hand and fingers and in various regions, you can get quite diverse appears.

Modern Box Drums

Present-day cajóns or box drums have started out to branch out as contemporary instrument makers make refinements and improvements. There are some that use snare drum wires rather of guitar strings. There are some with a pronounced bass influence by including a entrance dealing with bass seem hole. There are even some that are performed with a bass drum pedal or with brushes.

Why the Surge in Recognition?

The box drum is an attractive option for percussionists for many causes: portability, flexibility, and affordability. You will not have to plug it in and can be used even in a street-corner busking circumstance. And they are cost-effective too. You can buy a skillfully manufactured and gorgeous wooden instrument for a tiny above $100! And you can even get a kit to make a single for half of that. And alongside the way, the cajon tends to make a good stop desk or further seating in your living room!

I imagine we will listen to and see several more box drums in recordings, on phase and in faculties as much more and more musicians discover this gorgeous instrument.

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