Caixa em Cima Lesson

This lesson is an overview of my technique for playing samba on caixa em cima (caixa above, played holding the drum). It includes some exercises to develop good sound and rhythm in both hands and get started playing the most common samba rhythm for caixa em cima, as played by Salgueiro, Tijuca, Beija Flor, Grande Rio, Estacio, and many other samba schools in Rio.

I learned a lot about this technique and rhythm from Mestre Marcão of Salgueiro. Watch him play caixa here:

If you have questions or if you found this useful, please leave a comment below.
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2 comments on “Caixa em Cima Lesson
  1. Matt Anderson says:

    Again very generous and helpful.
    One question I have (and you might have covered) is whether the left is able to do a double. I can see where the triple rights come in.

    • carldixondrums says:

      Great question. Generally, with the caixa em cima technique/approach, you never play doubles with the left hand, even when that results in triples with the right hand. It’s definitely possible though. It partially depends on the tempo. At more moderate tempi, it’s more feasible to play triples with the right hand. At faster tempi, you can either double with the left or just leave out a note or play a ghost note with the right as a triple. When playing caixa em baixo, or on a strap, you have many more sticking options available, including left hand doubles.

      Some caixa sticking traditions are based on the common condition of having a definitively strong and weak hand. That generally places all the accents and doubles in the strong hand. If you have “chops” in both hands, that opens up a lot of opportunities for sticking variations that have doubles or accents in both hands.
      In a future lesson, I’ll outline a number of technique building exercises that can help develop the weak hand and open up a lot of variations.

      I hope that helps!