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Beyond Salsa for Beginners - Rhythmic Exercises 2: Easy Rhythms

Chapter 2 consists of basic rhythms that repeat after only two beats.


Exercise 2-2 is commonly called tresillo. It creates the feeling of “three-over-two” but the durations have to be “squared off” to fit into eight subdivisions, with a spacing of 3-3-2.

Exercise 2-2: tresillo • Audio Tracks 2-2a-d


Audio Files - right-click to play or download

Audio Track 2-2a - full speed

Audio Track 2-2b - half speed

Audio Track 2-2c - trainer method - full speed

Audio Track 2-2d - trainer method - half speed

As explained earlier, the “four groups of three” grid shown above is used in more than half of the rhythms of Afro-Cuban folkloric music, but not in the popular music rhythms studied in this book.

When looped as a two-beat cell, tresillo and its close relative cinquillo (Exercise 2-4) are the core rhythmic feel of many genres, such as makuta, calypso, rumba flamenca, reguetón and the masón section of tumba francesa. Tresillo is also half (the “3-side”) of the son clave rhythm, discussed in Chapter 3. We won’t cover clave in this chapter because it lasts four beats before repeating.

Tresillo also means “triplet” in Spanish, in which case it refers to the following 12/8 cell, with three strokes of equal length, spaced 2-2-2.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012, 01:23 PM