Samba Rhythms for Caixa

Caixas have either curly wire snares on the bottom or wound wires on the top.

Caixas with snares on the bottom are used for samba reggae, maracatu, and other rhythms from Bahia and the Northeast of Brazil. These caixa have a lot of ring and buzz from the snares, and are 12” or 14” in diameter.

Caixas with wires on the top are used for samba in the samba school baterias and blocos, and have a very short, dry sound. 12”x20cm aluminum caixa with wire on top are the type most commonly used in most Rio samba schools. 14″ models are used by some samba schools including Mangueira. Some baterias (Salgueiro, Vila Isabel) also use the tarol, a shallower caixa with a higher pitch.A new innovation is a “skeleton” caixa that has a open vented skeleton in place of a standard shell. These drums are extra dry and loud and are best suited for playing in a samba bateria.

12″ caixas are lightweight and are often tuned higher.14″ caixas generally have a louder sound and a lower tone than similar 12″ models.

15cm or deeper caixas can be played with either a shoulder strap or a waist strap. Shallower caixas and tarols are often played “em cima” (holding the drum near the shoulder or are played on a stand in a band.

Carl’s recommendations

General use
Contemporanea Aluminum Caixa, 12″ or Ivsom Aluminum Caixa, 12″

Dry sound (especially for caixa em cima)
Ivsom Skeleton Caixa, 12″ or Ivsom Skeleton Caixa with double strings, 12”

Lighter weight
Contemporanea Aluminum Caixa Light, 12″ or Artcelsior Caixa – 12” aluminum

Maracatu or samba reggae
Izzo Caixa, 14” x 15 cm or Gope Caixa, 14” x 15 cm

Bahia style for use on a stand
Gope Caixa, 14” x 10 cm

Bahia style for smaller players or lower volume
Gope Caixa, 12” x 15 cm “Dida”

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