Useful tips and information
Chocalho - shopping guide
Chocalho is the Brazilian term for all kinds of shakers. Ganzas are shakers made out of tubes filled with beads, metal plates etc., rocars are shakers with jingles.
Ganza or Rocar?
This primarily depends on how loud you want it to be. The rocar is defintely louder than a ganza. A single rocar is easily able to prevail as part of a large batucada, a single ganza is simply not loud enough. On the other hand a rocar is too loud in a smaller band or a Pagode, whereas the ganza is perfect. The style of music you want to play is also important for your decision. A rocar is typical for Rio Samba, ganzas are preferred in Bahia’s Bloco Afro. The rocar is more difficult to play. It is heavier and calls for more accuracy in your movements. The sound is more percussive which of therefore demands more precise playing. This may be a good reason for beginners to choose a ganza instead of a rocar.
Aluminium frame or wooden / aluminium handle?
Rocars with aluminium frames have more jingles than rocars with wooden handles and are therefore louder. Depending on the amount of jingles, the size of the frame or the length of the handle, their weight can be quite different. Please check the technical details of each instrument for more information. Note that due to the metal jingles constantly hitting on the metal frame, the aluminium rocars wear out faster.
The shape, material and thickness of the jingles influences the sound strongly. Jingles made out of metal sheet (e.g. Contemporânea) sound very dry, the ones made from zinc sheet have a more authentic and “dirty” sound. Jingles made from inox sound brighter and are very popular.
Single or double?
Double ganzas are louder and of course heavier than the single ones, but since all ganzas are usually made out of light weighted aluminium this should not have relevance on your choice. Double ganzas demand a more precise playing technique.
Large or small?
The larger the louder, the smaller the quieter! The longer a Ganza gets, the larger the diameter usually is. A long ganza with a large diameter offers more possibilities but also demands a more precise playing technique. The size of your handbag may also be a criteria of the right choice.
In general, ganzas are filled with small metal plates, which make them sound sharp and “dirty”. This is the essential difference to shakers which usually are filled with little beads and are mainly used for smaller instrumentations. They sound softer and rounder and are not loud enough for larger percussion sets. An exception is the ganza Maracatu from Barravento: its body is made out of zinc sheet and is filled with natural seeds that produce a very soft and clear sound.
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