Unplugged Drum Machine - Cajon

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Mar 17, 2012 21:50
The day before yesterday I had my hair cut. While getting a haircut I browsed some magazines and came across an article about a musical instrument, cajon. I had instinctive urge to buy a cajon.

Do you know a cajon? If not then video is worth a thousand words.



A cajon is a box-shaped percussion instrument originally from Peru. It is played by slapping the faces with hands. It also can be used as a chair :-)

When I was a student I used to play drums. Now I don't have a drum set so I usually slap my knees or a dinning table. Sometimes other family members complain about it. If I buy a cajon then I can slap it instead of the dinning table and I can make other family members more angry.

What is the most interesting point about a cajon is its simple shape - just a simple box. Regardless of its simple shape it can produce astonishing variety of sounds comparable to a full drum set. It is something like a unplugged drum machine. A full drum set is very complex. There is a world of difference in simplicity between a cajon and a drum set.

I think a drum set is a musical instrument based on the Western method of problem solving, that is, first analyse then synthesis. First, wanted rhythmic sound is decomposed into necessary elements of sound. Then, drums and cymbals are prepared for each elements and they are composed into a drum set. I think a cajon takes a complete different approach.

It is relatively difficult to writing a musical score for a cajon because you can slap it at any positions of its faces. How can we specify the position to slap in a musical score? On the other hand, in the case of a drum set, specifying which drum or cymbal to beat is easy because they have decomposed (semiotically articulated) in advance.

Anyway, I want to buy a cajon.

This is Stevie Wonder's great groovy tune "Sir Duke" performed by a trio of Cajon, Sax and Bass.



This video is a little bit long but it's interesting because it explains how to play a cajon.