Hearing the Clave and Slap of the Conga

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by KiwiMambo, Aug 16, 2006.

  1. sweavo

    sweavo New Member

    Heheh, yes. Don't forget TT, the 8 - count measure is a European formalism that came to the music and dancing LONG after the rhythms were forged. All the talk of "highly syncopated" is coming from the PoV of someone who counts in equal measures. This morning I was reading some rhythms from the Salsa Guidebook and they look really complex until you think in clave rather than in pulse. I was actually trying to figure out a "better" notation for latin music this morning.

    So without disrespect to africana, here are the rhythms of conga and bass tumbao with a european's count :)

    Conga goes

    (one)
    (two)SLAP
    (three)
    (four-and)KUM-KUM

    Bass can vary but usually goes something like
    (one)
    +
    (two)
    + BOM
    (three)
    +
    (four) BOM
    +
    (one)
    +
    (two)
    + BOM
    (three)
    +
    (four) BOM
    +


    Put them together and you get

    (one)
    (two-and)SLAP-BOM
    (three)
    (four-and)BOM-KUM

    on four, the bass and the KUM sound together, giving the four a heavier feel. This individual beat has a name (is it bomba?) and in some tracks it's quite emphatic.

    So, while the melodic phrases usually start on one, the real emphasis in the rhythms are 2 (on the 2 side of the clave) and 4 or 2+ on the 3-side. This emphasis, once you hear it, really helps you believe in dancing on 2 - the SLAP makes you want your break step there!
     
  2. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    counts

    thanks for reminding me Steve, just guess i am more ingrained in dancing to rythm counts when and where appropriate, but, point taken . altho. much easier to teach , and get, usually, quicker responses from students with a slow and q definition .( my logic,I,dont dance to #, I dance to " speed " .
    --- but heres an oddity-- e. coast swing in triple time, generally works better numerically and in single time s & q, tho. i still give the beat and bar value. Two of the most important factors for beginners, -- direction and speed .
     
  3. Josh

    Josh Active Member

    no offense sweavie (hey, how do you like that name?--maybe it sounds a bit too close to 'sweetie' -- never mind), but as good a job as you did counting out the conga rhythms for us with your notation, i'd rather stick to what's being used already i think :wink:
     
  4. sweavo

    sweavo New Member

    "Call me anything you want as long as you call me." (C) 1993 Culture Beat

    Hah. That wasn't my "better" notation. That's just something that works (or does it?) in an internet forum. I've just been playing with lilypond which is pretty http://www.oldyorksalsa.com/~sweavo/music/notation/paila.png http://www.oldyorksalsa.com/~sweavo/music/notation/cascara.png but a bit intensive for just knocking out a sketch.

    The thing about notating clave based music in 4/4 time is that you end up with lots of tied quavers since the 2nd clave beat on the 3 side is syncopated... it's even worse for a rumba clave. Music notation wasn't designed with rhythm in mind, it's just had more and more afterthougts cobbled onto it...
     
  5. africana

    africana New Member

    TOTALLY!! It's hard to explain this state of being, or to communicate it to any partner. Sometimes I feel guilty that I cannot transfer or share it, so I usually limit my "fall" into this state to when I'm dancing alone. Like yesterday, I had a music-night, when I go to a non-dancer venue with a particularly good live band.
    It's like falling into a trance, getting into the center of the sounds, your body becomes an extension, even awareness becomes non-concrete....I could go on LOL

    This is because there's no rush, no effort to catch or stay with time. The timing is in you because the music is in you, no matter how exotic the particular song 8)

    Agreed! It's due to the teaching over-focus on numbers too, which makes not much sense when the music is non-linear!!!!!
    The numbers are a help for learning to communicate with a partner, to learn lead and follow, but beyond that, we need to dance to the music
    This is why the western teaching culture dilutes salsa
     
  6. africana

    africana New Member

    cool 8)

    if it helps one more person understand then EXCELLENT :D
     
  7. HM

    HM New Member

    It does :)
     
  8. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    Hey guys... thank you very much for the kind words! They are very much appreciated!
     
  9. sweavo

    sweavo New Member

    Hey, don't let it go to your head, you'll lose that Zen thing you've got going on :p
     
  10. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Steve

    Point well made about music ala rythm. Musicians play for effect ,and we mere mortals attempt to interpret their meanings thru dance.I think the point is made abundantly clear when dancing to guapacha rythm in guajida or cha. they sure as hell weren,t thinking of us!!!!!
     
  11. double_R

    double_R New Member

    Au contraire. All of those musics that were developed after the Son, are the result of a dance influence. I'm not entirely sure if what musically passes for Ballroom Cha-Cha is the same thing as the authentic cuban "cha-cha-cha" syncopation. But the latter was developed as a result of the sound effects created by dancers feet in the salones de baile where the musical form known as Danzon was played...

    RR
     
  12. africana

    africana New Member

    welcome to posting Richie :) looking fwd to more
     
  13. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    sound

    Is not all sound a form of music in an aesthetic sense ?. also the cuban form of what is now known as cha, was originally danced , probably before your time as triple mambo, breaking on one, and, we all know and accept the root of the dances , son ,also,as you may , or may not know,sons translation means pleasant sound, or if you like, pleasing to the ear, so--- extrapolating that theory could mean , that all latin rhythms are essentially " son " or the tapping of feet ,And , there is no such thing as " cuban " cha, as most latinos and all spanish d.js that i know ,look upon it as-- 1,a ballroom dance and 2 , something developed by ballroom studios as an alternative to the triple mambo-- hence guajida, the pure form of the b/r cha is generally played by many of the better known bands , The word " cha-cha " is oft repeated in the vocals and was introduced so the public would accept that generic term ( Guajida would never sell ,as neither did guaracha, a fast form of sq. rhumba )
     
  14. africana

    africana New Member

  15. sweavo

    sweavo New Member

    I don't think that can be right. It would end up sounding like a bunch of stoners with djembes. If you don't know what that sounds like, you are lucky.

    About 5 would be my limit (but then I'm a timbales kinda guy :) )
     
  16. alemana

    alemana New Member

    hahahahah
     
  17. africana

    africana New Member

    :lol:

    that one came to me yesterday as I was watching a video of Mongo Santamaria on youtube

    good stuff, and I'm sure some of those guys had be stoned or something
     
  18. double_R

    double_R New Member

    Sure. But in relation to this particular discussion, your assertion that musicians did not have dancers in mind when something like cha-cha-cha was developed doesn't fall into the equation...

    The problem with that "theory" is that it doesn't fly with regards to Cuban popular music. All latin rhythms are not Son. The Son has specific characteristics that go beyond simple rhythmical and melodical phrasings. Just as the Guaracha, Bolero, Rumba, Danzon, Cha-Cha-Cha, etc. all do. It's why they are uniquely identified with their own distinct tags. In no way is the Son come about as the result of the tapping of the feet by dancers. I merely pointed out that the Cha-Cha-Cha in particular was directly influenced by what dancers were doing to certain songs at certain tempos. The creator of cha-cha-cha, Enrique Jorrin, claimed being inspired by the dancers shuffle of the feet.

    I have no idea what the Triple Mambo is and am going to assume that it is something derived from the Ballroom community and is based upon the cha-cha-cha structure. But most definitely, cha-cha-cha was not created in a ballroom. In fact, no popular dance that is part of a ballroom curriculum, be it the fox-trot, mambo, samba, "cha-cha," lindy, etc. was ever concocted within a dance studio. Ballrooms simply adopt the dances that impact and make headway into the mainstream popular culture and create a syllabus around them and offer instruction. They've also managed to singlehandedly promote a "standard level" of how it should be properly interpreted. But that's another topic in itself.

    Your statement that "Cha-Cha" being sold to the public because Guajida (do you actually mean "Guajira?") and Guaracha wouldn't sell, is something I've never heard of or read about and is something that I know can be disproven. Particularly with the term Guaracha. You don't have to look any farther than Celia Cruz to know how her moniker as "La Guarachera de Cuba" was internationally recognized.

    BTW-It is important to note that all Cuban-derived dances (before the advent of western/european/ballroom conventions) were based squarely with the principle of breaking on the two. Despite the fact that they did not refer to it as such (On 2), when you scientifically break down what being in clave is, you realize that the only way for the science (of being in clave) to work, is to do so on "2". By that, I'm not advocating any specific stylistic approach developed by a instructor such as Eddie Torres "2" or the Power "2" or whatever/whoever "2." Simply the overall concept of breaking on the 2. There is no other way to dance Cha-Cha-Cha in it's traditional sense, save for doing so on the 2. The reason for this is simple. Syncopation. Which is the foundation for all dances/musics and what people should stress moreso over, before deciding which approach (1 or 2) is the style they prefer or can "feel" more appropriately...
     
  19. double_R

    double_R New Member

    Thanks.

    Cuidate!..... RR
     
  20. africana

    africana New Member

    :notworth:

    "booyah" :D
    8)

    Amen! even in Havana I saw that they danced it on the 2, which makes sense to the sounds played

    (dancing the cha cha cha on1 is a pet peeve!)
     

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