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Which size Cuica? (Qs Leonard D. Harris)

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-----Original Message-----
From: Leonard D. Harris
Sent: Sunday, 4 November 2007 4:33 AM
Subject: cuica
OK after months of searching the instrument I have been looking for is called the cuica which thanks to this site I now know what it is. Now my question is this. I find they come in 5" and 10" how different is the sound between the two. Which one is most commonly heard the 5" or the 10".
Any assistance you could lend would be greatly appreciated. I'm going to learn to play one.


Hi Leonard.

I'm pretty sure that you could get a cuica in just about any size. To be honest I'm not up to date with what commercial manufacturers are doing with cuicas - they are not a common commercial instrument, but you are probably quite right in suggesting that 5" & 10" would be the targets. I personally have seen quite a few different sizes ranging from about 2 &1/2 inches to 14 inches. Obviously the pitches of these instruments are vastly different. I would suggest the 10" is a better instrument for you to get, because it will be more versatile and have more scope. Bigger diameter also means a longer rod in the middle so you can create greater variety in the lengths and speeds of the strokes. It also means there can be a greater variety of head tensions that you can achieve by pressing on the head, so the pitch range will be greater. Most of the guys I've seen who are really good at cuica and play in a professional capacity tend to use the bigger ones. The main advantage of using a smaller one would be that the sound would cut through the rest of a band more. So if you are playing cuica with a lot of other instruments, or there is a competing instrument with similar frequency componants, then using the smaller one may help identify and isolate the sound better. It will all depend on the song - you can always get both!!

Hope this helps a little..
Jim McCarthy

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answers by Jim MCCarthy - 01/12/2005

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