What Is a Box Drum or Cajon?

There is been a great surge in fascination in box drums lately. You will see and hear them just about everywhere in all kinds of songs from flamenco to globe to bluegrass, jazz, fusion, pop, rock and hip-hop. American Idol has even showcased a percussionist in the house band who at times delivers it downstage to accompany an acoustic unplugged efficiency.

So what is a box drum?

Box drums, also commonly acknowledged by their Spanish title, cajón (pronounced ka - hone) are really really previous. They had been developed in the 1700's by African slaves in coastal places of Peru. As their Spanish overlords forbade them from possessing any musical devices, one principle is that these devices were fashioned from the shipping crates and boxes that ended up getting unloaded off ships. Slaves sitting down on bins starting up make beats and there you have a new drum.

The phrase "cajón" literally interprets as drawer in Spanish. So cajon percussion is that some enterprising musician pulled out his picket drawer and started enjoying beats on the thin wood base floor. What ever the correct tale is, the box drum has been heard in Peruvian folk tunes for hundreds of years.

Integration into Flamenco songs and past

In the 1980's, entire world renowned flamenco guitarist Paco DeLucia was presented a cajón by a Peruvian maker as a reward. DeLucia was fascinated with the sound and experienced it integrated into his team. Someplace alongside the way, they commenced experimenting with introducing guitar strings managing together the faceplate of the drum. This added a sizzle result which proved very valuable. By hanging various places on the drum you could get a good facsimile of a full package sound with this one moveable box! I have heard these drums being used in jazz, folks, bluegrass and even in music remedy courses and kindergartens.


The design 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 1 foot by a single foot. The percussionist sits straddled on the box and the entrance floor is struck by the palms. By hitting with distinct parts of the hand and fingers and in diverse regions, you can get extremely diverse sounds.

Modern day Box Drums

Modern cajóns or box drums have started out to branch out as modern instrument makers make refinements and improvements. There are some that use snare drum wires instead of guitar strings. There are some with a pronounced bass effect by including a front experiencing bass sound gap. 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 eye-catching alternative for percussionists for several reasons: portability, versatility, and affordability. You never have to plug it in and can be employed even in a avenue-corner busking scenario. And they are inexpensive also. You can get a professionally manufactured and stunning wooden instrument for a little more than $100! And you can even acquire a package to make 1 for 50 percent of that. And alongside the way, the cajon helps make a great conclude desk or further seating in your residing area!

I feel we will hear and see several far more box drums in recordings, on stage and in educational institutions as much more and a lot more musicians learn this beautiful instrument.

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