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SpanishEnglishStudy - Clave Changes

click here for Kevin Moore's new book: Understanding Clave and Clave Changes.
free audio download here:

click here for German Translation

There's an old adage - "never discuss sex, politics or religion". When discussing Cuban music it's also wise to include "Fidel Castro" and "Miami" in this list, but there's a sixth controversial subject which has resulted in more heated argument and bad blood than the other five combined, and of course we're referring to to the red-hot topic of clave and clave changes.

Ironically, most of this disagreement is a result of misunderstandings based on semantics, which we try to clear up in our other article "The Four Great Clave Debates, the appendices of Beyond Salsa Piano, Vols. 1 & 2and the appendix of Beyond Salsa Percussion, Vol. 3.

If you don't mind using the same six terms that we use, they're defined below, but if you find yourself getting hot under the collar over our choice of terminology, just read the other article or substitute your own names. Remember that clave and clave changes DO exist and they sound the same no matter what you call them!

Our Terms Defined:

The Four Types of Clave (used in Timba and Salsa):
|=separates the four subdivisions of each beat

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

[for notes on audio examples, click here]



Monday, 19 March 2018, 08:15 AM