The Cajón Companion

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Tony Artimisi

General Info

Subtitle: 10 Easy to Intermediate Duets for the Cajón
Year of Publication: 2015
Publisher: Row-Loff
Series: Row-Loff Workshop Series
Level: Elementary to Intermediate
Cost: $12.00

Table of Contents

Duet 1 - Tick Tock
Duet 2 - Tumbao, Wow
Duet 3 - Trés Cool
Duet 4 - Ballad d’ Cajón
Duet 5 - Night Dance
Duet 6 - Out of Sink
Duet 7 - Claptastic
Duet 8 - Tone Twister
Duet 9 - Lightning
Duet 10 - Expert Mode

Notes for the Cajón Companion

The cajón is a very rewarding instrument to play because of the simplicity in producing the different tones: bass, open and slap.


In most cases, the player sits on top of the cajón to perform. Some players are incorporating the instrument into their drum sets and using different implements and angles to play, but the duets in this series will all be performed seated on the cajón. Taller players may want to lean the instrument back slightly to avoid having to bend over dramatically to reach the playing area. It is important to remember not to lean too far back while seated on the cajón to avoid falling backwards. I teach this by having new players slowly lean back and releasing to allow momentum to bring them forward. I continue this until a comfortable balance is achieved and the position becomes well-engrained in muscle memory. This process isn’t necessary for shorter players. The playing area will be more reachable and leaning the instrument backwards may not be safe.


Both hands should be able to produce the three tones of the instrument. The goal is for both hands to sound the same when playing the same tone. Advanced players are able to play variations of these tones for musical effect, but the foundation of the tones is achieved following the steps below:

  • The bass tone is performed by cupping the hand slightly and striking the instrument near the center of the instrument. It is notated on the bottom line of the staff in these duets.
  • The open tone is performed by striking the middle of the upper edge of the cajón using the second joint of the fingers. It is notated on the middle line of the staff in these duets.
  • The slap tone is performed with the fingertips near the upper corner of the instrument. It is notated on the top line of the staff in these duets.
  • A ghost note is performed by striking the instrument lightly. They allow the player to fill in rhythms to help maintain tempo, create a thicker musical texture, or to add any number of musical ideas to a groove.
  • Ghost notes are notated in parentheses in these duets

Recent Performance

1. Tick Tock
2. Tumbao, Wow
3. Trés Cool
4. Ballad d' Cajón
5. Night Dance
6. Out of Sink
7. Claptastic
8. Tone Twister
9. Lightning
10. Expert Mode

Additional Resources

Row-Loff Workshop Series

Row-Loff Workshop Series

Uncommon Duos By Lalo Davila
Wandering By Dan Moore
The Orchemental Snare Collection By Edward Freytag & Keith Dudek
Timp-Tastic By Lalo Davila
Rhythmology for Snare Drum By John R. Hearnes & David England
Snared By Dan Moore
Multiplicity By Edward Freytag
The Cajón Companion By Tony Artimisi
Rhythmology II for Keyboards and Timpani By John R. Hearnes & David England