Rumba experts - why the clave is reversed here

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Re: Rumba experts - why the clave is reversed here

Postby jorge » Tue Oct 21, 2014 10:58 am

vxla wrote:I'm not really getting his reply with the videos. Jorge please explain more as to what your point is.

Vxla, study the videos carefully and listen to the relation between the low drum (playing the tumbador-like part), the middle drum (not the bonko) and the clave pattern played on the bell, and let us know what you think.
JC, I could not find in Ned's book where it says the claves instrument originated in Matanzas, what page is that on?
Abakua and JC, there is a difference between the clave pattern and the clave instrument. The similarity of the African clave rhythm in the Cuban Abakua music and the African Ekpe music that was one of the main roots of Abakua music in Cuba strongly suggests the clave pattern did exist in Africa before it was played in Cuba. That part is played on a bell in both Abakua and Ekpe music. Other scholars (in the written tradition) of Afrocuban music like Fernando Ortiz and Ivor Miller have argued that the clave instrument originated in Havana, maybe as early as the 1600s, and the clave pattern originated in Africa. Afrocuban scholars in the oral tradition, including many Abakua members, may not be so open to share their views outside the Afrocuban community.
So it may be difficult for us in the 21st century to be certain of the origins of the clave pattern, but I do think that the Matanzas Abakua music as performed in the 2 videos suggests that playing the tres dos open tone on either side of the clave may well have been acceptable in the early development of the rumba, and playing the open tones on the 2 side evolved from that, as Guarachon suggested. Regardless of the history, having played it both ways, I much prefer the groove playing the open tones on the 2 side in guaguanco.
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Re: Rumba experts - why the clave is reversed here

Postby ABAKUA » Tue Oct 21, 2014 1:37 pm

jorge wrote:Abakua and JC, there is a difference between the clave pattern and the clave instrument..

De acuerdo, just to clarify I do mean clave as in the pattern, not the 2 stick instrument. :)
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Re: Rumba experts - why the clave is reversed here

Postby JohnnyConga » Tue Oct 21, 2014 3:07 pm

Jorge c'mon Bro..like I don't know the difference?/..please...hahahaha look let me clarify what i said.. I said the Rumba Clave came from the port of Matanzas..influenced by that Abakua 6/8 pattern..the Rumba Clave is 'inside' that pattern(which came from Africa)....thats all Im saying...it was developed in Matanzas before Havana, was which was still inline with 3/2 Son clave..If im wrong then show me...Im talking history here..that is why I also put up how claves were developed and how they originated..we cool?...hahaha
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Re: Rumba experts - why the clave is reversed here

Postby vxla » Tue Oct 21, 2014 8:34 pm

jorge wrote:
vxla wrote:I'm not really getting his reply with the videos. Jorge please explain more as to what your point is.

Vxla, study the videos carefully and listen to the relation between the low drum (playing the tumbador-like part), the middle drum (not the bonko) and the clave pattern played on the bell, and let us know what you think.


If you have a point, please make it in text, not just by posting videos. The videos were interesting, yes, but I still don't really see the direct relation to your point since you've given no context in which to frame them for your argument.
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Re: Rumba experts - why the clave is reversed here

Postby jorge » Thu Oct 23, 2014 4:19 am

vxla wrote:... If you have a point, please make it in text, not just by posting videos. The videos were interesting, yes, but I still don't really see the direct relation to your point since you've given no context in which to frame them for your argument...

VXLA like I said, study the videos carefully, listen and analyze what you are hearing and tell us what you think. Then read my whole post above, I did explain my point in text in the last paragraph, and tell us if you agree or not. Basically I think Guarachon nailed it (no pun intended) and I was just providing some examples to support what he said.

JohnnyConga wrote:...I said the Rumba Clave came from the port of Matanzas
...influenced by that Abakua 6/8 pattern
...it was developed in Matanzas before Havana, was which was still inline with 3/2 Son clave...
...If im wrong then show me...
..we cool?...hahaha


JC, now you got me hitting the books to find out what the real historians say. So here is a summary of what I found. We cool but what I found disagrees with some of what you said. Ned Sublette says the clavijas that were used as claves came from the shipyards of Havana (p. 94), not Matanzas, and he also says the claves were used first in the rumba before being used in son (p. 342). Going back further, Fernando Ortiz, in his book Los Instrumentos de la Musica Afrocubana, discusses the origin of the claves (instrument) in Chapter 5, in a section literally called "El origen habanero de la clave" (p. 123-127). He discusses the hypothesis that claves were originally made from super hardwood clavijas used in shipbuilding in Havana. He says that clave (the rhythmic cell) is of African origin but the claves as an instrument were invented in Havana and were not African in origin. He gives as evidence that claves were not played as an instrument in any of the African ancestral dances by Black Cubans. He says the claves instrument was born in Havana derived from African "palitos entrechocantes" (sticks that are hit together) and "tejoletas" from Andalucia Spain. I could not find anywhere that he commented on the Abakua clave played on the Ekon bell, although he did say the claves (sticks) were not used in the public performances of Abakua music on 3 Kings Day every year in Havana.

The Abakua 6/8 pattern is a 5 stroke 6/8 clave, played on a bell, and is contained within but is not the same as the 7 stroke "short bell" 6/8 pattern used in guiro, bembe and lots of other forms. I have never heard that short bell part played in Abakua music. To my ear, the Abakua clave is the closest antecedent to rumba clave that I have heard, although it clearly has more of a 6/8 feel than most rumba claves (with the exception of rumba columbia and some Matanzas guaguanco).
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Re: Rumba experts - why the clave is reversed here

Postby ABAKUA » Thu Oct 23, 2014 5:25 am

likes of Yoruba Andabo, Muñequitos de Matanzas, Los Papines, Rumberos De Cuba, Calderon family, all of which went into detail with me regarding origins of Rumba clave being from the Abakua, origins of which are in Havana first, then moving out to the other cities etc


Incase it was missed. :)
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Re: Rumba experts - why the clave is reversed here

Postby jorge » Thu Oct 23, 2014 5:40 am

Estamos de acuerdo, didn't miss your point at all, I just forgot to give you credit for it! Sorry about that. What do you think about the idea that the origin of the tres dos part in guaguanco is from the Matanzas Abakua second part? Any discussion of that in your travels to Cuba?
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Re: Rumba experts - why the clave is reversed here

Postby davidpenalosa » Thu Oct 23, 2014 6:18 pm

Ah . . . a topic close to my heart! Hello friends. Before I respond to some of the comments made here, I'd like to share a paragraph guarachon63 (Barry) helped me write for my book Rumba Quinto:

Rumba Quinto wrote:It should be mentioned at the outset that the history of rumba is filled with so many unknowns, contradictions, conjectures and myths which have, over time been taken as fact, that any definitive history of the genre is probably impossible to reconstruct. Even elders who were present at historic junctures in rumba’s development will often disagree over the critical details of its history.


Many aspects of this music's history will probably remain a mystery. With that in mind, I'd like to share some things we do know.

JohnnyConga wrote:Rumba Clave came out of Matanzas, not Havana


The two different clave patterns typically used for yambú in Havana ("son clave"), and Matanzas ("rumba clave" with the main beats), support that hypothesis. However, on field recordings of rumba made in Havana during the 1940s, the patterns we call rumba clave and son clave can be heard. Were the two claves also used in Matanzas during this time? We have no audio record of what clave patterns were played in Matanzas in the 40s. The first recording of rumba from Matanzas (Guaguancó Matancero) came out in 1956.

JohnnyConga wrote:The Clave comes out of/from the 'short' 6/8 bell part...translated into Clave in Matanzas....remember there were many African nations thrown together in Cuba...so it was this amalgamation that Rumba and Clave were created... they weren't playing Clave in Africa.


The five-stroke guide patterns we call son clave and rumba clave are actually ancient African bell parts. Both patterns can be expressed in triple pulse or duple pulse structure, and are widely used across sub-Saharan Africa. They definitely did not originate in Cuba. I documented this fact quite thoroughly in my book The Clave Matrix.

son clave.jpg
"Son clave"
son clave.jpg (13.4 KiB) Viewed 1111 times

rumba clave.jpg
"Rumba clave"
rumba clave.jpg (13.51 KiB) Viewed 1111 times


The seven-stroke standard bell pattern ("short bell," "bembé bell") can also be expressed in a triple pulse or duple pulse structure:

Standard_pattern.jpg
Standard bell pattern


According to ethnomusicologists, the seven-stroke pattern, and the two five-stroke patterns, are the most commonly used bell patterns in sub-Saharan Africa. A.M. Jones states in his Studies in African Music (1959) that all three are “basically one and the same pattern.”

Concerning the origin of the tres dos part in guaguancó—the earliest recordings of guaguancó have only two drums or cajones. Perhaps the third drum was added later in the development of the rhythm, once the other parts had already been codified. If so, this could account for the initial flexibility with the placement of the tres dos, a flexibility that is not observable in the other parts. For example, I've never heard a Cuban play typical quinto phrases reversed to clave.

One of the most common primary supportive drum parts used in Africa, sounds "ponche," the offbeats 2+ and 4+ (counting clave in one measure), or doubled: 2+, 2a and 4+, 4a. This primary part is heard in iyesá, bembé, makuta, abakuá, the batá toque Obaloki, and conga de comparsa.

ponche 12-8 and 4-4.jpg
Ponche


In all of the above mentioned rhythms, a secondary drum ('segundo') in the ensemble sounds main beats, either all four, or just beat 1, or beat 3 (counting clave in one measure). The segundo or tres dos in guaguancó serves a very common function, found in countless rhythms. Therefore, I reason that the tres dos doesn't come from a specific older rhythm per sé, but rather, serves an important prevailing function, observable in many rhythms in Africa, Cuba, and other musics of the Diaspora.
-David
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Re: Rumba experts - why the clave is reversed here

Postby Quinto Governor II » Thu Oct 23, 2014 9:50 pm

"Goyo used to tell me the same thing, "they didn't know what they were doing back then", but to me it was always an unsatisfactory answer - it's not just a "few" recordings we are talking about, it's more like dozens, some of them by groups under the direction of Alberto Zayas, Ignacio Piñeiro, and Odilio Urfé - and there is no consistency even within those recordings by the same group. The change to (and codification of) playing the open tones on the 2 side coincides with the advent of very popular recordings by Los Papines and Guaguancó Matancero in the late '50s and early '60s.

My personal belief is that, prior to those recordings, people just didn't care that much about how it was played. Only after those newer recordings reached a wider audience, and especially after the formation of the Conjunto Folklórico Nacional, which established a "correct" way to play many types of folkloric musics, did the open tones on the 2-side become standard."




"Rumba Quinto wrote:It should be mentioned at the outset that the history of rumba is filled with so many unknowns, contradictions, conjectures and myths which have, over time been taken as fact, that any definitive history of the genre is probably impossible to reconstruct. Even elders who were present at historic junctures in rumba’s development will often disagree over the critical details of its history."

These 2 quotes from Barry and David some up my opinion on clave. I once started a thread here on rumba songs that crossed the clave, because I had come across so many songs that played on the 3 side. Maybe Cubans never perfected the art of admitting they just don't know for sure, and so, have to give some answer. In watching the Los Chinitos video explaining the history and structure of guarapachangueo, I got a similar feeling - that some of the explanations to questions about the rhythms didn't make sense to me, or maybe something was lost in the translation.
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Re: Rumba experts - why the clave is reversed here

Postby davidpenalosa » Fri Oct 24, 2014 10:16 pm

following up . . .

Note that the title of this thread is misleading. The clave is not reversed. The segundo is revered to clave in modern guaguancó. It is only natural for us to feel the onbeat emphasis of the segundo as "one," but clave is the prime referent of course.

In regards to the aural history passed down from those elders we have been privileged to know, If you ask a drummer from Matanzas, where rumba was born, or who had the batá first, they will say "Matanzas." If you ask a drummer from Havana, they will answer "Havana." And, the elders from each province will tell you in absolute terms, that it all began there. In general, the masters' collective narrative is full of contradictions.

As Barry related, concerning the placement of the segundo on the three-side, Goyo stated "they didn't know what they were doing back then." Yet, according to Jose Madera (former music director for Tito Puente), Machito, Mario Bauza, and other old Cubans in NYC, considered the segundo on the three-side approach the only correct way to play guaguancó. Mario Jáuregui, a founding member of the Conjunto Folklorico Nacional, has stated more than once that "son clave" was never used in Havana guaguancó. Yet, we have plenty of examples in recorded audio form, some of which feature Mario himself.

The historic flexibility of the guaguancó segundo is not necessarily a case of "anything goes." Both approaches can be rationalized in terms of clave. That's because clave is typically expressed in one of two ways by the individual parts of an ensemble. The first is what I call the clave motif, where the pattern is an embellishment or a distillation of the clave pattern. The old method of playing the segundo on the three-side is an example of the clave motif. Notice how the open tone melody of the salidor and segundo sound tesillo, the three-side of clave. The enú melody of the last movement of Osain (sometimes called rumba Obatalá) is another example of the clave motif.

clave motif.jpg
clave motif - drums


The following piano guajeo is an example of the clave motif. The piano sounds all of the strokes of clave.

clave motif guajeo.jpg
clave motif - guajeo


The other main mode of clave expression is what I call the offbeat/onbeat motif. There are offbeats on the three-side and onbeats on the two-side. The drum melody of modern Matanzas-style guaguancó is an example of the offbeat/onbeat motif. Notice that the only open tone sounded on the beat, is the segundo, on beat 3 (clave written in one measure), the beginning of the two-side. In the following example, I have included a bare-bones form of the quinto (slap represented by an "X" notehead) and the bass tone of the salidor (lowest note on the staff). The iyesá caja is another example of the offbeat/onbeat motif. All of the strokes are offbeats except the muted stroke on beat 3.

off-on motif.jpg
offbeat/onbeat motif - drums


This typical piano guajeo is based on the offbeat/onbeat motif. The only note coinciding with a main beat, falls on beat 3.

off-on motif piano.jpg
offbeat/onbeat motif - guajeo


There is no evidence that I've come across in African music, or ethnomusic literature that supports the claim that one of the five-stroke patterns, or the seven-stroke pattern is older than the others. There could be a chronology in Cuba though, as far as which guide pattern was used first. I don't think we will ever know for sure. In the meantime, there are intriguing bits of information that are fun to ponder. I was once told by a Cuban dance teacher, that his mentor, an elderly gentleman, used son clave as his referent for all folkloric music, even the batá. In his Popular Cuban Music (1939), Emilio Grenet speaks of only one clave pattern, the one we know today as son clave.

The evidence (including aural histories) points towards both clave patterns being rumba claves. At one time son clave could be considered the "Cuban clave." Rumba clave now seems to have taken over that position. The change can be traced back to the aftermath of the Cuban Revolution, when Pello el Afrokán created his rhythm mozambique. Mozambique was the first popular dance music to consistently use rumba clave.

-David
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Re: Rumba experts - why the clave is reversed here

Postby Derbeno » Sat Oct 25, 2014 8:58 am

Thank you for what must have taken some time to construct your posts and enlighten us further
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Re: Rumba experts - why the clave is reversed here

Postby davidpenalosa » Sat Oct 25, 2014 6:38 pm

Thank you. I think my tendency is to offer TMI, as the crickets can often be heard chirping in the aftermath of my posts. :D

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Re72di5phM0
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Re: Rumba experts - why the clave is reversed here

Postby RitmoBoricua » Sat Oct 25, 2014 7:43 pm

I am enjoying this thread also very interesting
information. Now if the crickets could chirp in
clave would not be so bad after all.
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Re: Rumba experts - why the clave is reversed here

Postby burke » Sat Oct 25, 2014 8:04 pm

I think the crickets are due to you [and others like you in this post] obviously knowing the subject so well there isn't much for most of us to say other than [like Derbeno] - thanks for sharing and being generous with your work.

BTW - got the Clave Matrix a while back. I have some vacation coming up and plan to dig to it between drinking and making crap in the garage.
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Re: Rumba experts - why the clave is reversed here

Postby ABAKUA » Sun Oct 26, 2014 4:10 am

Back in town from busy weekend of gigs, awesome read David, thanks for posting.

Again, dont want to sound like a broken record but from my extended time living in Cuba on multiple trips, the discussions with Yoruba Andabo, Muñequitos de Matanzas, Los Papines, Rumberos De Cuba, Calderon family laid out the exact same lineage regarding the clave origins from Abakua & Havana. When you have Muñequitos & Los Papines both telling you the same thing, its kinda hard to refute, especially when backed by the other elders from the other groups. I spent alot of time with many other groups however I only brought up the discussion of clave orgins etc with those mentioned.
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