Is this song a son?

#41
You really tested my Spanish !
I have learned a large part of my Spanish by transcribing lyrics, phonetically in the beginning when I couldn't speak Spanish. I am going to be working on some lyrics from other songs by Pupy this weekend to help Kevin out with his piano instructional books, the César Pedroso series, which are about to hit the market. He is including a little piece of a coro at the beginning of each song that he covers and so he needs the transcriptions to pick the coros he wants. Good practice for me.

So that's how I'll spend my weekend. Yes, can you say "geek"?
 
#42
Yep and La identidad by Azúcar Negra, but don't say I told you :) I don't think the bandleaders want it known that they were writing about this in case some fans get upset. They don't want to come off as bad guys. But musical rivalries have been a great source of songs as in the "charanguerra" between charanga forever and charanga habanera over who was the "real" charanga. Of course David won that one, but there were some great songs that came out of it.
Sube y baja
El charanguero mayor
El bla bla bla
Somos la charanga (Dice Formell)
La Charanga Soy Yo
Como pasan la cosas

So the winners are the fans :)
Sweet. I have always thought towards who La identidad is directed, had no idea it as MB. Also thanks for the info on the charanguerra.
 
#43
Gee thank you for such a wonderful compliment! If the best compliments thread weren't confined to the dance section that would make my list of best compliments.

But really the best thing to do, beyond listening to as much music as possible at all times of the day and night (my answer to everything), is to check out all of Kevin's on-line articles in the timbapedia at timba.com. I've mentioned the clave articles before, which are worth it just for their humor value.
...
This website appears to be down from my location...is this so in other places too?
 
#44
This website appears to be down from my location...is this so in other places too?
You mean you can't reach timba.com from your location or was it some other link?

It should be accessible everywhere unless maybe you are using an old modem. I have heard that the page doesn't load in Cuba anymore because the internet connections are too slow.

I just checked it now and it's up.

timba.com/encyclopedias

The articles aren't available any where else although some of the info is found here and there in Kevin's instructional books for congas, piano and percussion.
 
#45
I just checked it, and yes it works for me now :)

So what exactly was the final verdict on this song anyway? That it's some type of son, and not salsa?
 
#46
I just checked it, and yes it works for me now :)

So what exactly was the final verdict on this song anyway? That it's some type of son, and not salsa?
It all comes down to how you define son and how you define salsa. I would say it's son. I would go so far as to say that almost all salsa and almost all timba are son with various embellishments. The basic pattern of most (not all) of the songs is son. Then they may change the instrumentation or they may mix in other rhythms here and there but it's still a basic son pattern in the vast majority of salsa and timba.

But if you are going to use a narrow definition of son as it was originally then it should not have piano, congas, timbales or more than 1 trumpet. But I think that definition isn't really viable. Even Dundunbanza isn't son by that definition. Even Arsenio's original version has 3 trumpets, piano and congas.

youtube.com/watch?v=ddKqtbqAAEw

Look at Benny Moré y su banda giganta. He played son and mambo among other things and had a huge metales section and timbales as well. And no tres. This sounds a heck of a lot like what you might call "salsa" to me but "salsa" didn't exist at this time.

youtube.com/watch?v=B1VE56pc3Rk

To me songs such as Arroz con habichuela, Azuquita pa'l café are sones as well
youtube.com/watch?v=lTuI4WcGTto
youtube.com/watch?v=d3hBU9aRoT0

Fuego en el 23 is faster in the Sonora Ponceña version but there isn't that much difference from the original Arsenio son.
youtube.com/watch?v=pQid8B53QO8
youtube.com/watch?v=t15qx9F5bi8

The whole thing is this, the name "salsa" started being applied to the music and then to the dance in the 70s. The music didn't change from one day to the next, it was the marketing term that changed. When that happened people began to lose touch with the actual names of the genres. Some of the old CDs have the real genre names printed beside each song and you can see that they often would call it some sort of son-otherRhythm mix. But that level of detail disappear under the umbrella of "salsa".

So there are no exact guidelines of when a son becomes a salsa. It is up to the individual to decide. In many cases there are songs that are pretty clear cut that they have wandered pretty far from son, but others where it's harder to say unless you make yourself a very specific definition, say maybe the instrumentation used by Arsenio is son but once you add timbales and any horns other than trumpet it becomes salsa? But by that definition Benny Moré was doing salsa long before New York. So you see it's not really that simple.

Anyway, in terms of how the "son" feeling of a song affects dancing, I prefer to dance son to songs such as those that I mentioned above that have a strong "ponche". I like to dance son to a lot of slower timba songs, but am limited by the beat that my partner starts on since I'm a follower.

For me there is a tempo aspect to what feels comfortable dancing son and I think this may be the reason that many people define son as being slow, even though there is also fast son. For example a nice slow songo by Van Van is excellent for dancing son.
youtube.com/watch?v=-4DvOv_duW0

The thing that I like with dancing son is the way you drag out the body motion over the 4-5 and 8-1. It's almost like you lead the movement with your shoulder. I've posted this video link before but I like it because
1) you see that son is danced on4 even if it is 2,3,4 6,7,8. It's the "ponche" the 4 and 8 that are the most important beats. You see it clearly in the side-to-side step but it's less clear in a regular forward backward basic.
2) It's the emphasized body motion that should always be present on the 4 and 8. You also see that clearly in this video.
I don't like the part where they do their goofy choreography. They look like some sort of escapees from a "Fame" episode...but I digress.
youtube.com/watch?v=_9auQ9XCgmc

This is one of my favorite son dance videos.
youtube.com/watch?v=iI7TDQxMACQ

The problem for me with dancing son to fast son is that the body motion changes from being a nice, sensual drawing-out of the upper body to being a bouncy up-and-down motion and I don't like that. So to uptempo songs I would prefer to dance on1 or I suppose I could dance casino contratiempo but you lose some of the effect of emphasizing the "ponche" so might as well dance on1.

The closest video I have found to this so far is the Bailar casino finals from 2004 when the last three couples had to dance to a medley of Cuban genres to show their command of Cuban dance in general. You can see the "red" couple doesn't know much so that eliminated them quickly.
The second song is a changüí and the "bounciness" is what I'm talking about in fast son. I find it ugly.
youtube.com/watch?v=QkYuRWr13n8
FYI the music in this part of the competition is chachacha, changüí, danzón, rumba, timba

And BTW changüí isn't about bouncing the whole body like that. Kids today don't know how to dance changüí I was told by Taberas the director of Changüí Guantánamo. The feet shouldn't be lifted up like in salsa, you more shuffle, there is only one turn, a woman's right turn, and the bounce is a slight head/shoulder bob like in this video with Changüí de Guantánamo. Check out the man's footwork. Just because this has been around for over 100 years doesn't mean is has to be boring. This is from a symposium during the changüí festival 2007.
youtube.com/watch?v=lboz0Tkz0gc
 
#47
Actually thinking about the tempo issue, if Orlando said that slow to mid-tempo songs emphasizing the "ponche" then i guess the question would be to establish a the upper limit for BPM of what can be considered son and then anything faster than that would be salsa.
 
#48
The whole thing is this, the name "salsa" started being applied to the music and then to the dance in the 70s. was doing salsa long before New York.

Theres a well known NY DJ ( not to me personally ) who was using the term salsa on his radio program in the 60s .

As to " Son", we should clarify that it is "2" animals.. one the "Dance " and the other the " Music" . In other words, the 2 are mutually exclusive performance wise; however, one may include Son elements in ones dance interpretation. Or.. just dance as you normally do to that rhythm( as most people do ) .
 
#49
Added bpm criterion.

It all comes down to how you define son and how you define salsa. I would say it's son. I would go so far as to say that almost all salsa and almost all timba are son with various embellishments. The basic pattern of most (not all) of the songs is son. Then they may change the instrumentation or they may mix in other rhythms here and there but it's still a basic son pattern in the vast majority of salsa and timba.

But if you are going to use a narrow definition of son as it was originally then it should not have piano, congas, timbales or more than 1 trumpet. But I think that definition isn't really viable. Even Dundunbanza isn't son by that definition. Even Arsenio's original version has 3 trumpets, piano and congas.

...

The whole thing is this, the name "salsa" started being applied to the music and then to the dance in the 70s. The music didn't change from one day to the next, it was the marketing term that changed. When that happened people began to lose touch with the actual names of the genres. Some of the old CDs have the real genre names printed beside each song and you can see that they often would call it some sort of son-otherRhythm mix. But that level of detail disappear under the umbrella of "salsa".

So there are no exact guidelines of when a son becomes a salsa. It is up to the individual to decide. In many cases there are songs that are pretty clear cut that they have wandered pretty far from son, but others where it's harder to say unless you make yourself a very specific definition, say maybe the instrumentation used by Arsenio is son but once you add timbales and any horns other than trumpet it becomes salsa? But by that definition Benny Moré was doing salsa long before New York. So you see it's not really that simple.
...
Theres a well known NY DJ ( not to me personally ) who was using the term salsa on his radio program in the 60s .

As to " Son", we should clarify that it is "2" animals.. one the "Dance " and the other the " Music" . In other words, the 2 are mutually exclusive performance wise; however, one may include Son elements in ones dance interpretation. Or.. just dance as you normally do to that rhythm( as most people do ) .
Thanks for the input timbera mayor and terence!

Ok, I'm going to make a strict (and I think reasonable) definition for "salsa" music. According to my definition, "salsa" music is any son-derived song that has a conga tumbao in it, what Eddie Torres On2 dancers step to. Oh, and it also has to be at least 160 bpm, or else it starts occupying a shady area between slow salsa and fast guajira.

I didn't hear a conga tumbao in "Mi Guaguanco", so I'll call it a son and not "salsa".

I guess another thing for me to take away from this is that I need to learn more about son rhythms. I can definitely recognize genres like danzon, bolero, cha cha, etc, by their tempo and rhythm...but not son :neutral:
 
#50
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I can definitely recognize genres like danzon, bolero, cha cha, etc, by their tempo
Be careful with Cha Cha rhythms.. the "speed " of the dance has a pretty wide range, and, some songs have both Guajira and Cha covered over 2 bars .And, Guajira has the same "speed " range as Cha .

Boleros also may be deceptive, many are far to slow to dance, and some, far to quick.
 

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