Salsa Music Dictionary

Hello all! First post on this forum.

Note to salseros: 2/3 clave direction is by far the more common in New York mambo, chachacha, and related salsa music. 3/2 is more common on more folky tunes and in slower parts of New York tunes
Hi folks!
It's my turn to write the 1st post :)

Actually, guaguancó uses RUMBA clave that is different than SON clave.
What we listed in Salsa music is SON clave, that can be 3/2 or 2/3 as explained already.
RUMBA clave is different, the "3" part is not on 1-2^-4 (meaning on the beat 1, beat 2,5 and beat 4) but is on 1-2^-4^.....
The fact that the last note is a bit delayed makes it seems like a 2-3 clave, but is not!

It's complicated with words :D
But check on youtube and you'll hear the difference pretty clear.

Thanks for this dictionary of John Storm Roberts it is very useful, there is also one produced by Rebeca Mauleon (part 1)
Glossary of Terms
Relating to Afro-Caribbean Music

Abakuá -- 1. A secret fraternal society formed in Cuba by descendants of the Calabar tribe, referred to as the Carabalí. 2. The ritual music and dance of the Abakuá sect, which has greatly influenced Cuban secular forms such as rumba.
abanico -- The rim shot and roll of the timbales.
afro -- A rhythmic style combining adaptations of sacred batá drum rhythms popularized in Cuba in the 1940s, and often used to interpret lullabies.
agbe -- The Yoruba term for a beaded gourd instrument also known as chékere or güiro.
agogo -- An iron bell of Yoruba origin, used in conjunction with iyesá drums.
agwe -- Alternate spelling for "agbe" (see above).
agüe -- Alternate spelling for "agbe" (see above).
Arará (drums) -- Ceremonial drums of Dahomean origin, brought to Cuba's Oriente province by Africans of Dahomean descent following the Haitian Revolution.
areíto -- 1. A term derived from the native, indigenous tribes living in Cuba before colonization, (such as the Siboney, Taíno and Guanajatabibe tribes), referring to elaborate religious celebrations of music, dance and theatre; 2. A rhythmic style combining several elements of Cuban carnaval rhythms with the son and rumba, as well as several North American influences, resulting in a free-style, highly-syncopated style. The areíto later evolved into what is now known as songo.
atcheré -- A rattle or shaker, made either of metal, wood, gourd, coconut or other material, used to accompany sacred instruments such as batá drums.
Bantú -- The African people of Congolese origin, as they are referred to in Cuba. Perhaps one of the most influential African cultures throughout the Caribbean area.
baqueteo -- The rhythmic pattern played by the timbales in the Cuban style known as danzón.
barracón -- The barracks which were used as slave quarters in colonial Cuba, often surrounding a courtyard.
batá (drums) -- The sacred, two-headed drums of the Yoruba people of Nigeria.
bembé (drums) -- A set of three drums made from hollowed palm tree logs, with nailed-on skins which are tuned with heat.
bolero -- A slow, lyrical ballad.
bomba -- 1. A barrel-shaped drum of Afro-Puerto Rican origin, similar to the Cuban tumbadora (conga drum), although shorter; 2. A style of Afro-Puerto Rican music and dance which is also commonly found in salsa repertoires.
bombo -- 1. The "and" of the second beat of a measure; 2. The Spanish term for bass drum.
bombo criollo -- An adaptation of the European military bass drum, used in Cuba for carnaval in styles such as the conga.
bongos -- Two small drums attached by a thick piece of wood, played while held between the knees. The bongos were developed from African predecessors in Cuba's Oriente province. Originally, the bongo's drum heads (skins) were tacked-on, but later a system of tuneable hardware was attached. Bongos today are made of fiberglass as well as wood.
botija -- A ceramic jug originally used to import Spanish olive oil, used to provide a bass accompaniment in the son style.
botijuela -- Another term for botija.
buleador -- One of the rhythmic parts for the Afro-Puerto Rican style of bomba, which may be interpreted on congas as well as the Puerto Rican bomba drums.
Rebeca Mauleon (part 2)
Glossary of Terms Relating to Afro-Caribbean Music
caballo -- The name of the conga drum pattern used in the pachanga style, literally meaning "horse."
cajón(es) -- Wooden box(es) used in early interpretations of rumba, and still popular today.
canción -- A simple yet fundamental musical form consisting mainly of lyrics, harmony and melody, with very basic rhythmic accompaniment. The most common setting for this style is voice and guitar, and is often referred to as trova.
carnaval -- "Carnival."
castañuelas -- Spanish castanets.
cencerro -- A cowbell (with the clapper removed), struck with a wooden stick.
cha-cha-chá -- A rhythmic style derived from the early Cuban danzón-mambo, created by violinist Enrique Jorrín (who named the style upon hearing the scraping sounds of dancers'feet). The cha-cha-chá eventually became a separate musical style from the danzón.
changüi -- An early style of the Cuban son, featuring an instrumentation which includes the tres, bongos, güiro, maracas, and the marímbula.
charanga -- A specific style of instrumentation consisting of rhythm section (contrabass, timbales, and güiro), strings (from two to four violins, or any number of violins with a cello), and one wood flute. The piano and conga drum were added in the 1940s. This term (and style of instrumentation) evolved from the charanga francesa, developed in the early 20th century.
charanga francesa -- The original term for what is now known as the charanga instrumentation (see above).
charanga vallenata -- A style of instrumentation combining elements of the Cuban charanga and conjunto styles with the Colombian vallenato style featuring the accordion.
charanguita -- A popular instrumentation in peasant or country music parties (called guateques), consisting of accordion, timbales and güiro.

More to come...
Rebeca Mauleon (part 3)

chékere -- A beaded gourd instrument of African origin used in Cuban sacred music. Also referred to as güiro - for the style of music in which it is used - as well as agbe, agwe or agüe.
cierre -- Term used to refer to a percussion break, as well as a break which may be played by the entire ensemble.
cinquillo -- A five-note pattern or cell derived from the Cuban contradanza, which is part of the rhythmic figure known as the baqueteo in the danzón style.
clave -- A five-note, bi-measure pattern which serves as the foundation for all of the rhythmic styles in salsa music. The clave consists of a "strong" measure containing three notes (also called the tresillo), and a "weak" measure containing two notes, resulting in patterns beginning with either measure, referrred to as "three-two" or two-three." There are two types of clave patterns associated with popular (secular) music: son clave and rumba clave. Another type of clave - 6/8 clave - originated in several styles of West African sacred music.
claves -- Two round, polished sticks which are used to play the clave patterns.
columbia -- A rural style of Cuban rumba containing many African elements in its lyrics, polyrhythmic structure and dance style.
combo -- An adaptation of the North American jazz combo instrumentation in Cuba during the late 1950s, generally consisting of bass, drums, piano, sax, trumpet, Cuban percussion and electric guitar.

More to come....
Rebeca Mauleon (part 4)
comparsa, conga de -- The specific style of instrumentation used in Cuban carnaval music, which plays the conga rhythm. The instruments include conga drums, bombo, cencerros, sartenes (frying pans) and trumpets, or originally, the trompeta china ("Chinese trumpet").
conga (drum) -- A Cuban drum derived from several African predecessors - also known as the tumbadora - originating as a solid, hollowed log with a nailed-on skin. Eventually, tuneable hardware was added and today, conga drums are made out of fiberglass as well as wood.
conga habanera -- The style of the Cuban carnaval rhythm called conga, which is played in Havana.
conga santiaguera -- The style of the Cuban carnaval rhythm called conga, which is played in Santiago.
conjunto -- A specific style of instrumentation developed around 1940, derived from the septeto ensemble, consisting of guitar, tres, contrabass, bongos, three vocalists (who play hand percussion such as maracas and claves), and two to four trumpets. The piano and the tumbadora were added by legendary tres player Arsenio Rodriguez.
contradanza criolla -- An 18th century style derived from the European court and country dances, and a predecessor to the Cuban danzón, containing many Creole musical elements in its instrumentation and interpretation.
corneta china -- Another name for the trompeta china, or "Chinese trumpet," used in Cuban comparsas for carnaval.
coro -- "Chorus."
coro de claves -- A vocal ensemble originating in the 19th century featuring one vocal soloist and a large chorus, often accompanied by guitars, claves, a viola (without strings, used as a drum) and sometimes a botija. Coros de clave often performed in streets and neighborhoods, interpreting a song form called canto de clave.

More to come...
I really appreciate this information on the dance and fitness forms and health benefits of dancing.
Dancing is recreational and entertaining. Overall, proper technique is not difficult to learn, but it requires specific instruction. Once you master it, however, your dancing abilities will improve phenomenally.
Well Bear, it's not really Salsa... ;)
Actually, the origin of Bachata is related to Salsa music. Bachata started out in the 1960s as a variant of the Bolero rhythm. It is like a stripped-down version of the Bolero with the instrumentation of the pre-Son Montuno Afro-Cuban Son group. For example, the conga and piano were removed and the bongo and guitar play a huge role instead with a lot of improvisation on the part of both instruments.

Of course, Bachata is now in a category of its own and it's probably not thought of as part of the Salsa family by most. However, it is musically just an altered version of the Bolero rhythm which is a part of the Salsa family. Therefore, technically Bachata can at least be considered like a distant cousin of Salsa music.

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