6/8 Clave Permutations - Bell Patterns and Church Modes

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Postby davidpenalosa » Fri Feb 15, 2008 4:12 am

I went on a little shopping spree at itunes today and found some more examples of 4/4 "son clave" used in Brazilian Candomble. They play it on an agogo bell

X--X--X---X-X---
"POPOLOGUMDE" from Pontos de Macumba and "Avaninha / Vassi d'ogun" from (Musique du monde : Brésil - Les eaux d'Oxala)

H--L--L---L-H---
On "Avaninha d'obaluaye" (Candomblé Musique du monde : Brésil - Les eaux d'Oxala), they make a two-tone melody out of son clave. The two strokes coinciding with a main beat (4 & 1) are played on the high bell. The offbeats of clave are played on the low bell.

L||L--H--H-L-L-H--L||
"OGUM OIA" and "O GAUINZA" from (Pontos de Macumba) is a two-tone agogo bell melody that could be thought of as an embellished variant of son clave.

As could this pattern that I mentioned in my last post:

X--X--XX--X-X---

-David
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Postby Chupacabra » Fri Feb 15, 2008 6:04 am

After reading this most fascinating thread it further reinforces the sensation that I feel when I am playing the 6/8 bell or clave and everyone I'm practising with gets into "the mode". It's way beyond the bell itself - it feels like I am in control of a very powerful, but graceful machine as I begin to relax while playing and let my body feel the movement and rhythm.
The downside to that is I'm always the one playing the claves or bell while everyone else is drumming!
There is a probably a very good reason why this pattern is usually one of the first ones that novices are introduced to!
... --- ... ... --- ... ...---...
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Postby Thomas Altmann » Fri Feb 15, 2008 10:32 pm

Hi David,

Please excuse my delayed response; I had been working (rehearsal, gig, teaching).

By the way, technically speaking, the three 12/8 patterns and the three 4/4 patterns mentioned here are all in duple meter. They consist of two cells, divided into two main beats each. All the patterns have four main beats. It’s their pulses (subdivisions) that are either triple or duple (quadruple).


That’s correct. Thanks for pointing that out. So, by definition, wouldn’t you call 6/8 or 12/8 a ternary meter? How would you call it? Duple meter with triplet subdivisions?

Structurally speaking, it is exactly as I described above, no more no less. If you are referring to the EFFECT of the clave or bell, their significance in the music, or all the things they intimate by the very nature of their archetypal structures, then of course, I agree that they go far beyond that. Their structures have cognates in harmony, architecture, nature and metaphysical concepts.


I was passing over the mere structural analysis; that’s why I went to refer to the analogies directly. So we are closer in our perception than it initially appeared.

The relationship of the three to the two is profound. I don’t see it as limiting. I mean, Pythagoras was both a philosopher as well as a mathematician and wasn’t there a whole religion established upon his teachings? Joseph Campbell said that the three is the universal number of transcendence and "whenever one moves out of the transcendent one comes into a field of opposites [two]".


Thanks for sharing these citations! Let me add something to it: Among the Dogon, the number of three represents the male gender (and principle?). I read this in a little booklet (not by Griaule, but perhaps his wife, I can’t tell for sure). Unfortunately I cannot give you the exact source data, because I lent the book to someone and didn’t get it back. I find this idea remarkable in the context of clave, because the 3-part of the clave is sometimes referred to as the male part.

By the way, the teachings of Pythagoras on mathematics were very much inspired from his research in Egypt.

I don’t mean to minimize the significance of this music by breaking it down to its fundamental ratios. I can break harmony down to its fundamental ratios too: 3:2 is the perfect fifth and 4:3 is the perfect forth, but is Mozart’s art really just a matter of math? …


Exactly my point. I tend to look at the metaphysics, the energy patterns, the emotional effect of a musical phenomenon much more than physical or mathematical relationships within intervals or rhythmic values. As a musician, I cannot make any use of the insight that the tone A has 440 Hz (or did they change that meanwhile?). The question is, what can I do with it, and when, in order to evoke the intended effect?

I sincerely hope that my knowledge is not too half-baked or too ungrounded for you. Sometimes I’m afraid you are having a hard time arguing on such an non-academic basis with people like me, as I’m sure you just could never afford using any information that is not 100 percent scientifically provable.

I’m just talking rhythmic ratios here because the topic of this thread is "6/8 Clave Permutations". Permutations of what rhythmic principles?


Again sorry for using an un-appropriate term, please. This was a language problem. The only permutation that takes place here refers to the eighth note / half tone steps. Let’s agree on the term you proposed; displacement.

I’m not sure if you are saying that the seven-stroke pattern is older than the five-stroke pattern. In his article "The Standard Pattern in Yoruba Music" (1960), Anthony King called the 12/8 son clave pattern the standard and the seven-stroke pattern an embellished variant. In his article "The Clave: Cornerstone of Cuban Music" (1983), John Santos stated the opposite view that the seven-stroke pattern was the original and the five-stroke pattern is a simplified variant. Neither King nor Santos offered any evidence supporting the idea that one pattern was historically older than the other was. I’m not aware of any evidence for either argument.


Somehow I never had the slightest doubt that the 7-stroke 6/8 bell pattern is the great-grandmother of all existing clave patterns; I never heard anything other than this, and I can’t even remember all the people who have since confirmed my perspective. John might have been one of them, and I even have a photocopy of his 1983 article in the Modern Drummer magazine, but I cannot remember him mentioning that. I never even heard the name of Anthony King, and the idea that the 5-stroke 6/8 clave is nearly as popular as the 7-stroke or even its precursor is new to me. Which is not Mr. King’s fault, of course. Actually, I did not recognize that there is a 5-stroke bell pattern in Africa until 1988 when I played in a percussion group that had 50 percent Ghanaian music in its program. Well, like anybody else, I’m just learning.

Thank you for sharing the info, also regarding Natalie Curtis, A.M. Jones and John Collins. I have excerpts of Jones’s work here, but have never read it.

By coincidence our piano player has just returned from Mali. He said that clave was everywhere. He brought about 12 hours of music back, recorded in various settings. I listened to some selected tracks and heard a lot of samples that were in-between triple and duple feel (referring to the subdivisions). So obviously the distinction between 2/4 (4/4) and 6/8 (12/8) clave is of minor significance. What matters in the first place, are the rhythmic proportions, so to say.

One drum melody I discerned reminded me of the Ritmo Afro ("Afro-Cuban") in Cuban music, which has a strong 4/4 son clave orientation, as we all know:

Ritmo Afro:
x--xx-x-x-x-x---

Malian piece:
x--x--x-(x)-x-x---

The stroke in parenthesis is less accented, but it is there.

There was a folk song that was sung by a family on the countryside in the evening, where everybody was (hand-)clapping the 7-stroke bell pattern in a hybrid metric feel, but definitely more towards duple feel:

x--x--xx--x-x--x

Our pianist said this was really traditional stuff. I don’t know how traditional, however.

So my question concerning traditional African music with a duple meter clave was more or less answered that afternoon.

The 4/4 version of the seven-stroke bell pattern:

X..X..XX..X.X..X

contains both the 4/4 son clave and rumba clave.


This is the common notion. I suggest, however, that you consider your "On-Beat 6/8 bell" pattern being related to Son Clave. The reason is that every percussionist that I know (in Africa, too), tends to stress the second stroke of the subsequent eighth notes within the bell pattern stronger that the first – provided he plays it with a sense of the metric pulsation. It seems unmusical to me to derive the Son Clave from the "Off-Beat bell". The notes that are accented less are eventually omitted, resulting in the respective 5-stroke clave figure. Thus the Off Beat bell can by its nature only lead to Rumba Clave.

Thomas
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Postby davidpenalosa » Sat Feb 16, 2008 1:24 am

Thomas:>>How would you call it? Duple meter with triplet subdivisions?<<

me:
Exactly. I’ve asked the theory teachers at my local university and they don’t have a term for the systematic, simultaneous use of triple and duple subdivisions. It’s not polymeter because there is a single meter. In Western music theory they call 6/8 and 12/8 "compound duple meter": duple meter with triple subdivisions. 4/4 is called "simple duple meter".

The problem with those terms’ usage with African rhythm is that the triple-pulse (subdivision) structure is the more basic of the two. The 4/4 is actually more complex because the complete 4:3 cross-rhythm is a three-clave cycle (12 main beats) in 4/4, whereas 3:2 cycles over just two main beats in 12/8. For the sake of accuracy and practicality, "duple meter with duple or triple subdivisions" works fine.

>>Let me add something to it: Among the Dogon, the number of three represents the male gender (and principle?). I find this idea remarkable in the context of clave, because the 3-part of the clave is sometimes referred to as the male part.<<

Yeah, I think there’s something to that.

>>By the way, the teachings of Pythagoras on mathematics were very much inspired from his research in Egypt.<<

There’s been a lot of speculation on that subject. Apparently Pythagoras is just the earliest documented reference to the significance of ratios.

>>Sometimes I’m afraid you are having a hard time arguing on such an non-academic basis with people like me, as I’m sure you just could never afford using any information that is not 100 percent scientifically provable.<<

100% is a pretty high standard. I do like it when I can find some corroborative evidence for a theory. I appreciate that you are taking the time to consider these things. On a practical level, I find it very valuable to correspond about music theory because I get good feedback on the effectiveness, or lack of, of my presentation.

>>Let’s agree on the term you proposed; displacement.<<

Sure.

>>Somehow I never had the slightest doubt that the 7-stroke 6/8 bell pattern is the great-grandmother of all existing clave patterns; I never heard anything other than this, and I can’t even remember all the people who have since confirmed my perspective.<<

I took it as gospel too, but it is a very Cuba-centric, even a popular music-centric view with absolutely no proof. There’s a related myth that’s often repeated – that the 4/4 clave-based music in Cuba resulted from the 12/8 rhythms conforming to European (4/4) sensibilities. Neither of these speculations takes into account the myriad bell patterns in Africa.

>>John might have been one of them, and I even have a photocopy of his 1983 article in the Modern Drummer magazine, but I cannot remember him mentioning that.<<

He does.

>>Thank you for sharing the info, also regarding Natalie Curtis, A.M. Jones and John Collins. I have excerpts of Jones’s work here, but have never read it.<<

Jones is significant for documenting the music so early. However, he and others like King, did not correctly analyze the rhythmic structure. It’s a problem because their faulty analysis continues to be cited in new works, spreading misinformation. For example, King interpreted African music as additive rhythm, writing the seven-stroke bell in a measure of 5/8 joined with a measure of 7/8!

C.K. Ladzekpo is the earliest to identify the music’s cross-rhythmic structure and David Locke’s 1982 article "Principles of Off-Beat Timing and Cross-Rhythm in Southern Ewe Dance Drumming" is the first correct explanation in print.

The earliest ethnomusicological reference to son clave was in 1920 and concerned its 12/8 form. All references to son clave in Latin music literature concern the 4/4 form. The earliest reference I’ve found was in 1939. Unfortunately, it seems the two disciplines have not conversed until relatively recently. The Cuban authorities could have helped the ethnomusicologists with the metric structure and the ethnomusicologists could have helped the Cuban authorities with a wider knowledge of key patterns.

>>By coincidence our piano player has just returned from Mali. He said that clave was everywhere. He brought about 12 hours of music back, recorded in various settings. I listened to some selected tracks and heard a lot of samples that were in-between triple and duple feel (referring to the subdivisions). So obviously the distinction between 2/4 (4/4) and 6/8 (12/8) clave is of minor significance. What matters in the first place, are the rhythmic proportions, so to say.<<

Yes, it’s fascinating to find those patterns spread over such a wide geographic area, with so many diverse ethnic groups.

>>One drum melody I discerned reminded me of the Ritmo Afro ("Afro-Cuban") in Cuban music, which has a strong 4/4 son clave orientation, as we all know:<<

Ritmo Afro:
x--xx-x-x-x-x---

And similar to the Ogun bata rhythm.

Malian piece:
x--x--x-(x)-x-x---

I was looking for clave-based motifs on itunes today. I found "sicco", a rhythm from the Baoule people of the Ivory Coast. Sicco is based on the same motif you wrote for the Malian piece. It’s also the motif for that Candomble rhythm I notated yesterday.

By the way, yesterday I received the book/CD "Music in East Africa" by Ruth M. Stone. I have "Music in West Africa" by the same author. The West Africa book has a whole chapter on "Time and Polyrhythm". The East Africa book does not. East African music has had quite a bit of Arab influence and Stone documents East African Christian music too. I don’t know what’s going on with that flute music, it’s so foreign to my ears, but the drumming is definitely built upon the same cross-rhythmic structures, although they tend to be simpler than what’s found in West Africa. The simplest percussion music on the CD is less cross-rhythmic and mostly centered around on-beat/offbeat (displacement again) interaction.


>>There was a folk song that was sung by a family on the countryside in the evening, where everybody was (hand-)clapping the 7-stroke bell pattern in a hybrid metric feel, but definitely more towards duple feel:<<

x--x--xx--x-x--x

>>Our pianist said this was really traditional stuff. I don’t know how traditional, however.<<

Very cool.

>>So my question concerning traditional African music with a duple meter clave was more or less answered that afternoon.<<


>>>QUOTE
The 4/4 version of the seven-stroke bell pattern:

X..X..XX..X.X..X

contains both the 4/4 son clave and rumba clave.<<<


>> I suggest, however, that you consider your "On-Beat 6/8 bell" pattern being related to Son Clave. The reason is that every percussionist that I know (in Africa, too), tends to stress the second stroke of the subsequent eighth notes within the bell pattern stronger that the first – provided he plays it with a sense of the metric pulsation. It seems unmusical to me to derive the Son Clave from the "Off-Beat bell". The notes that are accented less are eventually omitted, resulting in the respective 5-stroke clave figure. Thus the Off Beat bell can by its nature only lead to Rumba Clave.<<

Well, I do consider all of those patterns to be the expression of the same rhythmic principles. There is no evidence of the offbeat bell lead to the rumba clave in a historical sense. But I do take your point from the view of accents.

Always a pleasure to correspond.
-David
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Postby Thomas Altmann » Sat Feb 16, 2008 2:16 am

Ritmo Afro:
x--xx-x-x-x-x---

And similar to the Ogun bata rhythm.


... and similar to the second part of Orula's toque, as well as the last part of Osain, a.k.a. Rumba Obatala.

TA
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Postby davidpenalosa » Sat Feb 16, 2008 2:25 am

Exactly. And related (although more abstractly) to the old way in whch Havana guaguanco was played - segundo on three-side, w/ son clave. That's also the basic motif of the drum melody in the recording of that Candomble rhythm from 1972.
-David




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Postby Thomas Altmann » Sat Feb 16, 2008 7:22 pm

Hi David,

just a detail:

I took it as gospel too, but it is a very Cuba-centric, even a popular music-centric view with absolutely no proof.


I don't think it's Cuba-centric. Most people that proclaim this theory are well aware of the fact that the 6/8 ("Bembe") bell originated in Africa and are often eager to relate Afro-Cuban music back to the "mother" continent ("cradle of humanity/civilization" etc). I'd rather regard it as Afro-centric.

There’s a related myth that’s often repeated – that the 4/4 clave-based music in Cuba resulted from the 12/8 rhythms conforming to European (4/4) sensibilities. Neither of these speculations takes into account the myriad bell patterns in Africa.


Even Olavo Alén Rodriguez stated in a personal conversation that the more African a rhythm is, the more it tends to be ternary in structure. I was to lazy to object. The man has studied Afro-Cuban music all his life. But I thought by myself that I knew it better.

... the old way in whch Havana guaguanco was played - segundo on three-side, w/ son clave.


From listening to the Papin y sus Rumberos tracks on the "Guaguanco" record (1957? 1953? - I forgot) I recall that some of the rumbas were played in this way, but not all. I'd have to listen back to the entire side that features this band to exactly pinpoint the respective tracks. So my notion was that it was simply un-standardized. From where did you get the information that this was the regular Havana style, and where can I hear it?

One final thought: Our drummer is studying musicology, and when I told him that I see a connection between the Bembe bell and diatonic scales, he uttered serious doubts, because to his knowledge West African music is more often based on pentatonic scales. We were then called for the sound check, so I could not explain the whole Egypt connection and so forth. I don't want to carry the speculation on ad infinitum, but the facts are that in West Africa we have pentatonic scales and a 5-stroke clave pattern ...

This came to my mind recently. It's up to anyone to draw his/her conclusions or not.

Thomas
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Postby davidpenalosa » Sat Feb 16, 2008 8:38 pm

Thomas:>>Most people that proclaim this theory are well aware of the fact that the 6/8 ("Bembe") bell originated in Africa and are often eager to relate Afro-Cuban music back to the "mother" continent ("cradle of humanity/civilization" etc). I'd rather regard it as Afro-centric.<<

Yes, but I’ve read several things by North Americans stating that the five-stroke pattern is a Cuban invention that evolved from Mother Africa’s seven-stroke original. That theory does not take into account the myriad five-stroke key patterns in Africa.

>>Even Olavo Alén Rodriguez stated in a personal conversation that the more African a rhythm is, the more it tends to be ternary in structure.<<

You would think a Cuban scholar would be interested in listening to some examples of African music.

>>>... the old way in whch Havana guaguanco was played - segundo on three-side, w/ son clave.<<<
>>From listening to the Papin y sus Rumberos tracks on the "Guaguanco" record (1957? 1953? - I forgot) I recall that some of the rumbas were played in this way, but not all. I'd have to listen back to the entire side that features this band to exactly pinpoint the respective tracks. So my notion was that it was simply un-standardized. From where did you get the information that this was the regular Havana style, and where can I hear it?<<

John Santos first pointed it out to me back in the 80’s. The problem for us is that the change occurred right at the time when the very first folkloric rumba records were released. That happened to be the very brief period where the segundo was played on both sides of clave and both the "son" and rumba clave patterns were used. Within a few years, the structure was codified in its present form.

A lot of the examples of the segundo on the three-side (Mongo, Muñequitos, Alberto Zayas) have palitos instead of clave. However, you can hear "son" clave used in guaguanco on Carlos Embale’s "Ultima rumba" from the 1955 record "Festival in Havana". It’s available on CD. It’s also audible on Patato y Totico’s 1968 "Ague que va caer", featuring old school masters Arsenio Rodriguez and Cachao.

Several Havana folkloric groups still use "son" clave in yambu:
"Ave Maria" Conjunto Folkloricó Nacional de Cuba (1961)
"Mama abuela" Conjunto Clave y Guaguancó (1990)
"Maria Belen" Yoruba Andabo (1993)
"Chevere" Conjunto Clave y Guaguancó (1996)
"Las lomas de Belén" Ecué Tumba (2001)

Considering the clave pattern used for guaguanco and yambu in Havana at the turn of the 20th century was "son" clave, the emerging theory that son borrowed clave from rumba when it migrated west to Havana makes sense.

>>One final thought: Our drummer is studying musicology, and when I told him that I see a connection between the Bembe bell and diatonic scales, he uttered serious doubts, because to his knowledge West African music is more often based on pentatonic scales. We were then called for the sound check, so I could not explain the whole Egypt connection and so forth. I don't want to carry the speculation on ad infinitum, but the facts are that in West Africa we have pentatonic scales and a 5-stroke clave pattern ...<<

Western harmony, pentatonic scales, diatonic scales, clave, the 12 bell and many other things in our world are based on the same fundamental ratios. That doesn’t mean that Africans also developed the diatonic scales or that Europeans also developed timeline patterns. However, the pentatonic scales do correlate to five-stroke patterns.

Whether or not there’s some Egyptian connection binding sub-Saharan African rhythm with Western harmony is in a sense, irrelevant. These ratios are the building blocks of our natural world and predate all civilizations, predate humans actually. :)

Thomas, I’ve been trying to email you directly, but keep getting bounce-backs.
-David
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Postby Thomas Altmann » Sat Feb 16, 2008 9:32 pm

David:

You would think a Cuban scholar would be interested in listening to some examples of African music.


Yes. Olavo for sure. If he isn't busy or on some congress abroad.

The problem for us is that the change occurred right at the time when the very first folkloric rumba records were released. That happened to be the very brief period where the segundo was played on both sides of clave and both the "son" and rumba clave patterns were used. Within a few years, the structure was codified in its present form.


I have all these recordings, and I know that Son clave is traditionally played in Yambú, too. I realized the inconformity of clave alignment earlier, but as there were also Guaguancó tracks from that time that were played with the clave as it is taught today, I concluded that, in the beginning, there was no rule for it. The clave consciousness in Son had to evolve, too, from the beginnings (Changüí had no clave) to Arsenio and beyond.

Ray Barretto always played a Guaguancó with the segunda in the 3-part. Even Jerry Gonzalez consciously decided to play this way in at least one tune of the Conjunto Libre, but mostly plays in the acknowledged manner. So you can choose: Clave has to be seen in the context of distinct styles (Son vs. Rumba), and of history.

I heard someone call this old way of playing "Puerto Rican style", but I think that some famous Puerto Rican Salsa musicians had learned to play Guaguancó from Cuban drummers at an ancient stage within the evolution of this genre.

My first Cuban teacher, Rodolfo "El Moro" from La 440, explained that the Conga de Comparsa predated Guaguancó, and when the tres golpes drum was added to the comparsa battery, it had to balance out the bombo, which was played on the 3-side of the clave, so it went to the 2-side - where it stayed in the Guaguancó later! So it became my idea that this way of playing with the clave has always been the correct way until today, but some Rumba drummers who were not aware of the association with the Conga, only listened to the 2+ of the tres golpes and turned the whole thing around. As a result, both ways co-existed in the early period of the Guaguancó, until the current style came to general acceptance.

As far as I know, the tres golpes was originally not part of the Yambú at all, so a Yambú that uses this drum could not be quoted as proof for the theory that it has been played with the same clave relation in 1900.

I sent you a PM regarding bounce-backs.

Greetings,

Thomas
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Postby davidpenalosa » Sat Feb 16, 2008 11:24 pm

>>I have all these recordings, and I know that Son clave is traditionally played in Yambú, too. I realized the inconformity of clave alignment earlier, but as there were also Guaguancó tracks from that time that were played with the clave as it is taught today, I concluded that, in the beginning, there was no rule for it.<<

Older rumberos from Havana and Matanzas have stated that a CHANGE occurred during the 1950’s. Aural histories are tricky because different sources can contradict each other, but there is considerable evidence that it was one way, they experimented with the other way and then shortly after that, that other way became the norm. According to Jose Madera (former music director for Tito Puente), the older guys who grew up with segundo on the three-side, like Tito, Machito and Mario Bauza considered the segundo on the three-side approach the ONLY correct way.

>>My first Cuban teacher, Rodolfo "El Moro" from La 440, explained that the Conga de Comparsa predated Guaguancó, and when the tres golpes drum was added to the comparsa battery, it had to balance out the bombo, which was played on the 3-side of the clave, so it went to the 2-side - where it stayed in the Guaguancó later! So it became my idea that this way of playing with the clave has always been the correct way until today, but some Rumba drummers who were not aware of the association with the Conga, only listened to the 2+ of the tres golpes and turned the whole thing around. As a result, both ways co-existed in the early period of the Guaguancó, until the current style came to general acceptance.<<

Interesting story. Another example of contradictory aural histories! This has been a frustrating part of the history for me to document.

>>As far as I know, the tres golpes was originally not part of the Yambú at all, so a Yambú that uses this drum could not be quoted as proof for the theory that it has been played with the same clave relation in 1900.<<

Right. I cited those yambus because of their clave pattern.

There seems to be two different rhythmic motifs that are the basis for each way. If the rhythm is based on a "son clave"-typle motif (three-side w/ a two-side) like the last movement of Osain:

I--i--i-o-o---i-

I = iya enu
i = itotele enu
o = okonkolo enu

... (and those rhythms I mentioned from Brazil and West Africa), there’s a stroke on beat 1.

However, this tendency is not borne out in the segundo-on-the-3-side with "son" clave arrangement of gauguanco. I did notice though on the Carlos Embale guaguanco, the quinto played on beat 4 (last stroke of clave) quite a few times. That’s not a typical emphasis of rumba quinto, but it’s not enough to include that piece into the category I’m describing. Especially since that quinto also plays lots of offbeats on the two-side.

If it’s a modified tresillo – a rest on beat 1, giving the three-side an offbeat quality, there’s a stroke on beat 3:

---X--X-X--X--X- #1 no stroke on beat 1

or

-X-X--X-X--X--X- #2 stroke on beat 1 displaced to 1e

#1 is a common bass tumbao pattern in salsa. #2 is the basis for iyesa, an arrangement of makuta, guaguanco, the Cuban mozambique bombo drum and some timba kick drum parts.
-David
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Postby Thomas Altmann » Sun Feb 17, 2008 1:30 am

Hi David,

Older rumberos from Havana and Matanzas have stated that a CHANGE occurred during the 1950’s. ... According to Jose Madera (former music director for Tito Puente), the older guys who grew up with segundo on the three-side, like Tito, Machito and Mario Bauza considered the segundo on the three-side approach the ONLY correct way.


Great info. You see, this is the kind of sources that I'm after. Are you talking about the Jose Madera article at Descarga?

There seems to be two different rhythmic motifs that are the basis for each way. If the rhythm is based on a "son clave"-typle motif (three-side w/ a two-side) like the last movement of Osain:

I--i--i-o-o---i-

I = iya enu
i = itotele enu
o = okonkolo enu

... (and those rhythms I mentioned from Brazil and West Africa), there’s a stroke on beat 1.

However, this tendency is not borne out in the segundo-on-the-3-side with "son" clave arrangement of gauguanco ...


I don't know exactly what you want to say here. Even modern Guaguancó has a note on 1 of the 3-side, exactly like Chachálokpafún or your above example - but these are DEEP sounding strokes - on the opposite side of the segunda; I'm talking about the muffled tone on the tumbadora in the estribillo part (or even open - as played by the Munequitos).

... I did notice though on the Carlos Embale guaguanco, the quinto played on beat 4 (last stroke of clave) quite a few times. That’s not a typical emphasis of rumba quinto, but it’s not enough to include that piece into the category I’m describing.


Again, I don't know what your are up to. In cut time notation this is the 3 of the 2-side measure. I play this note often, too - inspired by the "Totico y sus Rumberos" record (was it Jerry who played that way?). It feels like an anchor locking in with the clave. Actually I play the 2+ only when I want to avoid strange looks by younger Cubans.

The last rhythmic patterns you notated were in 3/2. What did you want to demonstrate?

Thomas




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Postby davidpenalosa » Sun Feb 17, 2008 3:35 am

>> Are you talking about the Jose Madera article at Descarga?<<

This was actually something he told me in correspondence. Did he talk about rumba in that article?

>>I don't know exactly what you want to say here. Even modern Guaguancó has a note on 1 of the 3-side, exactly like Chachálokpafún or your above example. ...but these are DEEP sounding strokes - on the opposite side of the segunda; I'm talking about the muffled tone on the tumbadora in the estribillo part (or even open - as played by the Munequitos).<<

I’m confused now. Are you talking about guarapachangeo? I’m just talking about the fundamental drum melody – the open tones.

>>Again, I don't know what your are up to. In cut time notation this is the 3 of the 2-side measure. I play this note often, too - inspired by the "Totico y sus Rumberos" record (was it Jerry who played that way?). It feels like an anchor locking in with the clave. Actually I play the 2+ only when I want to avoid strange looks by younger Cubans.<<

Let’s see if I understand. Are you saying that you like to play the open tone for the segundo here?:

|- - - -| - - - -| O - - - |O - - -|

... and that you only play it like this:

|- - - -| - - - - |O - - O |O - - -|

... when you want to avoid strange looks by younger Cubans?

Or -

Are you referring to when you play quinto, in which case I think your way would be:

|- - - -| - - - - |- - - -|O - - -|

except when you played it here:

|- - - -| - - - - |- - - O|- - - -|

Am I close?

>>The last rhythmic patterns you notated were in 3/2. What did you want to demonstrate?>>

In the clave direction? I don’t think of it as being in 3-2, because the whole 3-2, 2-3 concept and terminology doesn’t apply to folkloric music (this could be a whole other spur from this thread I suppose :) ). I just thought of it as writing in relation to clave.

Or do you mean what was the point I was trying to make with the examples? I was trying to show two different modes - one where beat 1 was sounded with an open tone and the other where beat 3 was sounded.

Sorry for the confusion. I think we can clear this up soon.
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Postby Thomas Altmann » Sun Feb 17, 2008 12:32 pm

Hi David,

Did he talk about rumba in that article?


I had to read the Jose Madera article finally; he did not talk about it.

Are you referring to when you play quinto, in which case I think your way would be:

|- - - -| - - - - |- - - -|O - - -|

except when you played it here:

|- - - -| - - - - |- - - O|- - - -|


You mentioned the quinto, so I was referring to quinto playing. However, the note that you marked is not always played as an open tone. But the rhythmic distinction that you depicted here is exactly what I meant.
My quinto "ride" covers the following notes (using your above notation method - clave 3/2):

|- X- -|- - - X|- - - -|X - - -|

I vary the sounds constantly (therefore I wrote X's) and also play two strokes instead of one and so on. That's basic, and I think it's common, too - except for most people playing my last X one position earlier, in the way you wrote it above.

In the clave direction? I don’t think of it as being in 3-2, because the whole 3-2, 2-3 concept and terminology doesn’t apply to folkloric music ...


Say what? You are surprising me, David. Where do you think that whole clave concern comes from? Cuban folklore and religious music is the foundation of clave consciousness, and in the examples you gave, my interpretation of them being notated in 3/2 is standard, I think. Plus: You might get a hard time trying to draw a clear line between folklore music and popular dance music (or whatever you want to delimit folklore from). The Iyesá rhythmic complex (particularly the caja) was certainly one of the foundations for the rhythmic territory for bombo variations in the Conga Habanera; the same influence, however can be found in a modern tumbadora accompaniment:

Iyesa caja:

|- - - O|- - X -|- O - O|- - X -|

Bombo variation (Conga Habanera):

|X - - O|- - X -|- X - O|- - X -|

Modern tumbadora pattern:

|- - x -|- - o o|- O - O|- - o o|

Although the clave is not played in Iyesá, because it is Cinquillo-related; if we wanted to superimpose a clave orientation to this pattern, it would be 2/3 in the order I notated it. The same clave orientation refers to the other two examples.

But, for example, would you say that Conga Habanera is less folkloric than Iyesá? There you have clave. You have clave in Abakuá rhythm ("Bianko"), in Lukumi songs, everywhere. Clave direction is paramount for every akpwón. So -

I guess I must have misunderstood you ...

The delayed 1 on the 3-side of the clave applies also to the quinto ride I notated above.

Are you talking about guarapachangeo? I’m just talking about the fundamental drum melody – the open tones.


No, Guaguancó, in the traditional style as it was played by Carlos Embale's group on the Areito records, for instance. Muffled tones can contribute to drum melodies, as is most evident in batá music. In Guaguancó, the tumbador sometimes adds one or two muffs on the 1 of the 3 side of the clave, on the opposite side to the segundo, when it comes to the estribillo (montuno) part. I'm sure I'm not telling you anything new.

Drum melody with tumbadora on the 1 of the 3-side (quinto omitted):

O-|o - - o|- -OM|M- - B|- -O-|

I start hating this notation (I always did, anyway). I'm sure one day we'll laugh about these times when we couldn't write real music in mails.

By the way; I suppose there is a similar clave confusion going on in Guarapachangueo today like in Guaguancó back in the 50's. Check out Piri López's demonstration and compare it with Panga's lesson on YouTube.

Thomas




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Postby windhorse » Sun Feb 17, 2008 7:39 pm

You mentioned the quinto, so I was referring to quinto playing. However, the note that you marked is not always played as an open tone. But the rhythmic distinction that you depicted here is exactly what I meant.
My quinto "ride" covers the following notes (using your above notation method - clave 3/2):

|- X- -|- - - X|- - - -|X - - -|

I vary the sounds constantly (therefore I wrote X's) and also play two strokes instead of one and so on. That's basic, and I think it's common, too - except for most people playing my last X one position earlier, in the way you wrote it above.


I was taught to do this by ET, one of our resident "experts" who has been to Cuba several times. He says to learn to play the "ride" this way (last note on the 4) because you don't want to hit on top of the second note played on the tres dos when someone is playing the Havana style. Then, you can go back to Jesus Alfonso's signature ride, when it's played with the one tone on the three ala Matanzas.

In the clave direction? I don’t think of it as being in 3-2, because the whole 3-2, 2-3 concept and terminology doesn’t apply to folkloric music ...


Say what? You are surprising me, David. Where do you think that whole clave concern comes from? Cuban folklore and religious music is the foundation of clave consciousness, and in the examples you gave, my interpretation of them being notated in 3/2 is standard, I think. Plus: You might get a hard time trying to draw a clear line between folklore music and popular dance music (or whatever you want to delimit folklore from). The Iyesá rhythmic complex (particularly the caja) was certainly one of the foundations for the rhythmic territory for bombo variations in the Conga Habanera; the same influence, however can be found in a modern tumbadora accompaniment:

Iyesa caja:

|- - - O|- - X -|- O - O|- - X -|

Bombo variation (Conga Habanera):

|X - - O|- - X -|- X - O|- - X -|

Modern tumbadora pattern:

|- - x -|- - o o|- O - O|- - o o|

Although the clave is not played in Iyesá, because it is Cinquillo-related; if we wanted to superimpose a clave orientation to this pattern, it would be 2/3 in the order I notated it. The same clave orientation refers to the other two examples.

But, for example, would you say that Conga Habanera is less folkloric than Iyesá? There you have clave. You have clave in Abakuá rhythm ("Bianko"), in Lukumi songs, everywhere. Clave direction is paramount for every akpwón. So -


I was taught by several people, David P included, that when the guys in Cuba play anything Folkloric, they ONLY play 3-2.
However, as you say, in Iyesa it's implied 2-3. I was also taught this understanding by my main teacher here. Also, when I was learning to play clave with Mozambique and Comparsa we learned to feel where everyone else played on the 1 as our three, and would come in on the back half of 2-3 clave.
Later I learned to reverse my consciousness back to the other side and play the clave as 3-2.
It was expanding to musical sensabilities, but I always wondered if it was really such a big deal whether you think of the 1 as ALWAYS being on the 3 side of clave or not. Hey, if it fits right, the song has the right feel, and everyone is psyched you're playing with them, what's wrong with 2-3?
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Postby Thomas Altmann » Sun Feb 17, 2008 8:54 pm

Hi Dave,

Oh, oh - big confusion. It's correct that when somebody starts to play the clave or bell pattern itself, as a rhythm, he starts from the first beat of the 3-part - mostly! But that does not mean that the toques that enter on top of this clave rhythm are therefore exclusively in 3/2-Clave. The songs even less. Neither none is in 2/3. This would be an Euro-centric perspective on Clave.

I tend to look upon the Clave as a monolithic stroke sequence, like a string of alternating pearls, that never started and never ends; it is just there. It's the music that has to align to this string. So the Clave is there first, then the song is put on top. You can realize that often the clave player enters the time string in his place, then each individual drum enters in his place, and the song finds the spot where it fits to the Clave as well. Then you have the music.

It is only the working practice in European musicianship to look at the "tune" or "number" first, to compose the piece, and then try to find out whether the composition is in 2/3 or 3/2. In my view that's upside down. I succumb to this terminology to be able to work professionally; that's all.

I even feel that somewhere at the origin of African based music, Clave takes over metric functions, de-throning the countable measures with it's pulsations. This goes well together with my thesis that you can strart your phrasing in many more places than just two: 3/2 or 2/3 - which leads us back to the original subject of this thread.

Greetings,

Thomas

P.S.:
I was taught to do this by ET, one of our resident "experts" who has been to Cuba several times. He says to learn to play the "ride" this way (last note on the 4) because you don't want to hit on top of the second note played on the tres dos when someone is playing the Havana style.


That's what I call affirmation.

Then, you can go back to Jesus Alfonso's signature ride, when it's played with the one tone on the three ala Matanzas.


Would you say that playing the quinto on 2+ in the 2-part of the clave is rather Matanzas style for this reason? What is "Jesus Alfonso's signature ride"?

TA




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