It also helps you focus on your time and groove. Plus you get to play salsa Please note, that while I have some experience with the style, I am certainly by far not an expert! So please check out the lesson, but please also continue you search for other sources of knowledge. A Tres One way to start is try to play what either a tres or cuatro is playing or to try an imitate part of what the piano is doing. Once you hear the different parts, you will be able to fit what you are playing into what the rest of the band is playing. Before or simultaneous to learning a few starter riffs to play on guitar depending on who you talk to, called montunos or tumbaos… , definitely check out these different interlocking rhythms that really make salsa music what it is.
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The history of Cuban music is shaped through the passion of the people and musicians. Understanding their rich language of rhythms and harmony on any instrument, let alone guitar, is both a deep ocean to explore and an island of soul. Many great musicians grow up immersed in the style and culture. However, even if you learn just from listening and playing you can internalize the sense of groove and pocket, and it will come out in your listening, playing, and writing.
I played in a Latin band called Umbalaye for several years in Los Angeles under the guidance of my friend and bandleader Jose Espinosa. I hope to share some of what I learned with you here. First, a little history. Afro-Cuban music was created when African slaves arrived in Cuba, where the two cultures met, and the richness of Spanish harmony blended with the African rhythms to create what we call salsa music. These cultures each had their own interpretations that often influenced each other.
In the s, Afro-Cuban music had a major impact on jazz, and since then, salsa has profoundly influenced pop music, blues, soul, and even rock styles. The most essential aspect of salsa is the rhythmic pattern known as the clave. In a forward clave, there are three in the first and two in the second. Obviously, flip that order around for a reverse clave.
In Ex. Click here for Ex. While the drums and percussion are usually playing different interlocking parts, the bass plays a melodic part called the tumbao, which serves a big role in accenting clave rhythms. Feel free to attack those notes with a pick and fingers, just fingers, or strike the strings that are fretted while the left hand dampens all the others. Another common rhythmic style is to accent beat 4 and anticipate each chord as shown in Ex.
Digging Deeper: Intro to Afro-Cuban Guitar
Salsa, Afro Cuban Montunos for Piano