Cabasa Meaning and How to Play It

March 8, 2023


The cabasa is a type of percussion instrument that is composed of loops of steel ball chain wrapped around a wide cylinder. It is typically played by shaking the cylinder. It is often used in Latin jazz, and it has a sound that is easily distinguished from other instruments.

It is not as bright as cymbals or tambourines, but it emphasizes an upper-register of pitch that can be heard in a band mix. It can also be useful as a rhythmic accent for other hand drums in the same ensemble.

How to Play It

Most hand-held percussion instruments are simple to learn, and the cabasa is no exception. Players simply hold the handle in their dominant hand and shake it, or they can hit the handle with their other palm to produce accents and other rhythmic effects.

Depending on the size and style of the cabasa, performers may achieve more complex timbres and rhythms by tapping the metal loop beads and rotating them while playing. They can also use a foot pedal that connects to the cabasa to control its sound and volume.

Cabasas are a common choice in music therapy because they encourage movement and develop neurological connections between the sound created by the instrument and the hands that manipulate it. They are easy to play and give satisfying results for patients with physical or neurological disabilities that limit their hand movements.

We offer a range of different cabasas, including some that can be controlled by a foot pedal, as well as traditional versions that are shaken by hand. We also carry a selection of cabasas that feature adaptive grips and other features to accommodate the needs of all players, from beginners to professional percussionists.


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