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Old 08-07-2011, 11:51 AM
sparqi sparqi is offline
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sparqi (1-20 posts)
Default real and imaginary salsa rhythms

hi...Im a beginner musician&dancer looking to understand the following conundrum:

During salsa dancing the steps/rhythm pattern is:

left, right, left, rest, right, left, right, rest.

And is counted:

1,2,3,rest,5,6,7,rest.

However, as far as I understand it, generally this doesnt 'really' occur in the music. So apparently (acc. dance teachers) one just feels it.

At times I do feel it, it just somehow resolves in, or is imagined by, the body, but it seems hit and miss...I dont know what Im listening for.

So firstly can somebody explain this for me, so that I can get my head around it and have a better idea what Im listening for?

And secondly how does this 'imaginary rhythm pattern' emerge from the clave, pulse and montunos?

Sorry about the vagueness of the questions...

many thanks for any help!
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Old 08-07-2011, 08:45 PM
place place is offline
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I am not a dancer, but recently took my first dance class ever. Ironically, it was a salsa class. My daughter is a regular and proficient swing dancer so I later took a swing dance class. I prefer salsa to swing, because it does fit the music. Swing dance steps are grouped in 3 beat patterns so that it intentionally is syncopated or off the beat which seems more "random" to the observer. The following quote is from Wikipedia:
Salsa music traditionally utilizes a 4/4 time signature. Musicians play recurring rhythmic accompaniments often in groups of eight beats (two measures of four quarter notes), while melodic phrases span eight or sixteen beats, with entire stanzas spanning thirty-two beats.

While percussion instruments layer several different rhythmic patterns simultaneously, the clave rhythm is the foundation of salsa; all salsa music and dance is governed by the clave rhythm from the Cuban Son. The most common clave rhythm in salsa is the so-called son clave, which is eight beats long and can be played either in 2–3 or 3–2 style.
The ‘1 2 3 rest 5 6 7 rest’ that you mention is just two measures of music or 8 counts of a typical salsa tune. (the rests are just counts 4 or 8). The clave is part of that 8-beat two-measure pattern. All you need to do is find count 1 and step with your left foot. The faster the music, the faster your steps.

Good luck.
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Old 08-07-2011, 11:37 PM
sparqi sparqi is offline
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hi Place, thanks for the response...the wikipedia quote especially helps -

"Musicians play recurring rhythmic accompaniments often in groups of eight beats (two measures of four quarter notes), while melodic phrases span eight or sixteen beats, with entire stanzas spanning thirty-two beats"

It explains the dance teachers comments of listening for crescendos...i.e. the ends of stanzas or melodic phrases...to "find count 1".

I'd misunderstood that there was somehow a reinforcement going on between all the layered percussion on beats 1,2,3 & 5,6,7 and somekind of diminishment on 4 & 8.

Now Im thinking that I should treat my feet as another percussion layer (adding to the music!), with the dah,dah,dah,rest,dah,dah,dah,rest pattern, which fits the general groups of eight beats pattern only, and doesnt match up in a beat by beat way with any of the other percussion layers or combinations thereof.

yes...that makes sense (hopefully Im not entirely missing something else!)...thanks for your pointers Place!
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Old 02-08-2012, 01:25 AM
wardmr wardmr is offline
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wardmr (1-20 posts)
Smile Salsa Dancer

I'm in the same situation. I can hear all the beats break down cord beats, syncopated beats, full count, clave 3-2 & 2-3, most of the time. What I'm trying to accomplish is to hear clave even when there is no clave playing and when the rhythum switches from 3-2 to 2-3 and back. I'm believe understanding how to play the piano should help this process.
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:51 PM
christianw christianw is offline
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Default clave feel

Quote:
Originally Posted by wardmr View Post
What I'm trying to accomplish is to hear clave even when there is no clave playing and when the rhythum switches from 3-2 to 2-3 and back. I'm believe understanding how to play the piano should help this process.
You can find the clave principles in other countries than Cuba etc too, f.e. in Uruguay and Argentina. The clave based music there is called Candombe. They arrange that music in a totally other way, perhaps listening to other styles modifies Your perception of the rhythm. Another style: Feliciano Arango is a very important cuban bassist. He developed a style of bass playing which allows to omit the clave. The clave is not away , but isnt played. You can find him as a member of NG La Banda and as a member of the band of Emiliano Salvador (look at Youtube) Hope that helps. Regards, Christian
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