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Se llama sabroso - ZONA FRANKA

Study - The 4 Great Clave Debates - Clave Debate 2

click here for Kevin Moore's book: Understanding Clave and Clave Changes.

Clave Debate #2: What are the correct names of the various clave rhythms?

This is the funniest clave argument and we’ve watched excellent musicians pull out their hair (and at times the hair of others) arguing about whether rhythm 4 above is "3:2" or "2:3" clave. The idea behind naming clave patterns with numbers like 2:3 and 3:2 is that the clave rhythm tends to sound as if it has two halves, or two "sides", one with three notes and one with two notes. Note that rhythm 3 begins with three 0’s, each separated from its neighbors by two x’s; there are then three x’s which separate the first three 0’s from the next two 0’s, which are only separated by a single x; then there are three more o’s before the pattern starts over again. Thus rhythm 3 very obviously breaks into a group of 3 and a group of 2 and everyone happily agrees that the name of this rhythm is "3:2 clave". Now look at rhythm 1 and note that it’s exactly the same as rhythm 1 except that it starts in the middle. In other words, the 3rd and 4th groups of rhythm 1 are the 1st and 2nd groups of rhythm 3 and vice versa. The proportions remain the same and everyone agrees that rhythm 1 is "2:3 clave". So far, so good, but a great deal of Timba and other Cuban music uses rhythms 2 and 4 in place of rhythms 1 and 3.

Now look at rhythm 4. It’s exactly the same as rhythm 3 except that the third 0 comes one subdivision later. All the books we’ve ever seen written on clave (which are written by people who read music), call rhythm 4 "3:2 clave" as well, and go on to distinguish between the two by calling rhythm 3 "3:2 Son Clave" and rhythm 4 "3:2 Rumba Clave". Sometimes a different adjective is used --"Son" might be replaced by "Puerto Rican" and "Rumba" might be replaced by "Guaguancó" or "Cuban", and a fair amount of hair has been pulled out arguing of which these is correct as well, but in each case the numbers remain 3:2. Likewise, these books, and most people, call rhythm 1 "2:3 Son Clave" and rhythm 2 "2:3 Rumba Clave".

The reasoning behind this is that once you’ve gotten used to rhythm 3 being called "3:2 Son Clave", all you have to do is change one note and it becomes "3:2 Rumba Clave". This is where the big argument comes in! The other debate team usually consists of people who have learned the rhythms by listening rather than reading. They're almost always people with a very good natural sense of rhythm, and are frequently drummers and dancers who have learned to play and dance beautifully without ever having looked at the rhythms on paper. When these folks listen to rhythm 4, what do you think they hear? Look at the x’s and 0’s! The first two 0’s have two x’s between them and then there a big gap of three x’s before the next three 0’s come in, separated by only two and one x’s respectively. Then there are three more 0’s before the pattern repeats. So even though rhythm 4 looks like it’s only one note different from rhythm 3, which everyone calls "3:2", rhythm 4 sounds like two notes, a space and then three notes! The arguments that result from this queer little conundrum can be extremely hilarious as long as no one gets hurt.

We’ll make three points. The first one is so obvious that it’s almost always overlooked.

1) It doesn’t matter what you call them!. You could call them "Beavis" and "Butthead" and they would still sound the same when you played them. The only thing that matters is that everyone agrees on the names and keeps them straight. Our second and third points will explain why we use the first naming convention.

2) The other instruments, such as campana, mambo bell, cáscara, etc. play the same part for rhythm 2 that they play for rhythm 1.

3) Cuban musicians, when playing clave, will sometimes interchange rhythm 1 with rhythm 2 in the same section of music, but will never interchange rhythm 1 with 3 or 4.

This pretty much seals the case for the first naming convention. Rhythms 1 and 2 are one family and 3 and 4 are another.

So now, finally, we can name the four rhythms:


0=clave
x=rest
|=separates the four subdivisions of each beat


1)xx0x|0xxx|0xx0|xx0x 2:3 son clave [audio example 1]
2)xx0x|0xxx|0xx0|xxx0 2:3 rumba clave [audio example 2]
3)0xx0|xx0x|xx0x|0xxx 3:2 son clave [audio example 3]
4)0xx0|xxx0|xx0x|0xxx 3:2 rumba clave [audio example 4]

click here for Kevin Moore's book: Understanding Clave and Clave Changes.

miércoles, 08 octubre 2014, 06:17 pm