Claves ( /, / ; Spanish: [ˈklaβes] ) are a percussion instrument consisting of a pair of short, wooden sticks about 20–25 centimeters (8–10 inches) long and about 2.5 centimeters (1 inch) in diameter. Although traditionally made of wood (typically rosewood, ebony or grenadilla) many modern manufacturers offer claves made of fiberglass or plastic.
When struck, claves produce a bright, penetrating clicking noise. This makes them useful when playing in large dance bands.Claves are sometimes hollow and carved in the middle to amplify the sound.
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Claves have been very important in the development Afro-Cuban music, such as the son and guaguancó. They are often used to play an ostinato, or repeating rhythmic figure, throughout a piece known as the clave.
Many examples of clave-like instruments can be found around the world.
The basic principle when playing claves is to allow at least one of them to resonate. The usual technique is to hold one lightly with the thumb and fingertips of the non-dominant hand, with the palm up. This forms the hand into a resonating chamber for the clave. Holding the clave on top of fingernails makes the sound clearer. The other is held by the dominant hand at one end with a firmer grip, much like how one normally holds a drumstick. With the end of this clave, the player strikes the resting clave in the center.
Traditionally, the striking clave is called el macho ("the male") and the resting clave is called la hembra ("the female"). This terminology is used even when the claves are identical.
A roll can be achieved on the claves by holding one clave between the thumb and first two fingers, and then alternating pressure between the two fingers to move the clave back and forth. This clave is then placed against the resonating clave to produce a roll.
Among the bands to have used claves are the Beatles in their recording "And I Love Her" and The Who in their song "Magic Bus".
Claves are also utilized in the interstitial spaces of the Night Court theme.
Many composers looking to emulate Afro-Cuban music will often use claves such as Arturo Márquez with Danzón No. 2 or George Gershwin with his Cuban Overture .
Steve Reich's Music for Pieces of Wood is written for five pairs of claves.
The tambourine is a musical instrument in the percussion family consisting of a frame, often of wood or plastic, with pairs of small metal jingles, called "zills". Classically the term tambourine denotes an instrument with a drumhead, though some variants may not have a head. Tambourines are often used with regular percussion sets. They can be mounted, for example on a stand as part of a drum kit, or they can be held in the hand and played by tapping or hitting the instrument.
Timpani or kettledrums are musical instruments in the percussion family. A type of drum categorised as a hemispherical drum, they consist of a membrane called a head stretched over a large bowl traditionally made of copper. Thus timpani are an example of kettle drums, also known as vessel drums and semispherical drums, whose body is similar to a section of a sphere whose cut conforms the head. Most modern timpani are pedal timpani and can be tuned quickly and accurately to specific pitches by skilled players through the use of a movable foot-pedal. They are played by striking the head with a specialized drum stick called a timpani stick or timpani mallet. Timpani evolved from military drums to become a staple of the classical orchestra by the last third of the 18th century. Today, they are used in many types of ensembles, including concert bands, marching bands, orchestras, and even in some rock bands.
Salsa is a Latin dance, associated with the music genre of the same name, which was first popularized in the United States in the 1960s in New York City. Salsa is an amalgamation of Cuban dances, such as mambo, pachanga and rumba, as well as American dances such as swing and tap.
The clave is a rhythmic pattern used as a tool for temporal organization in Cuban music. In Spanish, clave literally means key, clef, code, or keystone. It is present in a variety of genres such as Abakuá music, rumba, conga, son, mambo, salsa, songo, timba and Afro-Cuban jazz. The five-stroke clave pattern represents the structural core of many Cuban rhythms.
Latin jazz is a genre of jazz with Latin American rhythms. The two main categories are Afro-Cuban jazz, rhythmically based on Cuban popular dance music, with a rhythm section employing ostinato patterns or a clave, and Afro-Brazilian jazz, which includes samba and bossa nova.
Timbales or pailas are shallow single-headed drums with metal casing. They are shallower than single-headed tom-toms and usually tuned much higher, especially for their size. They were developed as an alternative to classical timpani in Cuba in the early 20th century and later spread across Latin America and the United States.
Bongos are an Afro-Cuban percussion instrument consisting of a pair of small open bottomed hand drums of different sizes. They are struck with both hands, most commonly in an eight-stroke pattern called martillo (hammer). They are mainly employed in the rhythm section of son cubano and salsa ensembles, often alongside other drums such as the larger congas and the stick-struck timbales.
The conga, also known as tumbadora, is a tall, narrow, single-headed drum from Cuba. Congas are staved like barrels and classified into three types: quinto, tres dos or tres golpes (middle), and tumba or salidor (lowest). Congas were originally used in Afro-Cuban music genres such as conga and rumba, where each drummer would play a single drum. Following numerous innovations in conga drumming and construction during the mid-20th century, as well as its internationalization, it became increasingly common for drummers to play two or three drums. Congas have become a popular instrument in many forms of Latin music such as son, descarga, Afro-Cuban jazz, salsa, songo, merengue and Latin rock.
A cajón is a box-shaped percussion instrument originally from Peru, played by slapping the front or rear faces with the hands, fingers, or sometimes implements such as brushes, mallets, or sticks. Cajones are primarily played in Afro-Peruvian music, but has made its way into flamenco as well. The term cajón is also applied to other box drums used in Latin American music, such as the Cuban cajón de rumba and the Mexican cajón de tapeo.
Timba is a Cuban genre of music based on Cuban son with salsa, American funk/R&B and the strong influence of Afro-Cuban folkloric music. Timba rhythm sections differ from their salsa counterparts, because timba emphasizes the bass drum, which is not used in salsa bands. Timba and salsa use the same tempo range and they both use the standard conga marcha. Almost all timba bands have a trap drummer. Timbas also often break the basic tenets of arranging the music in-clave. Timba is considered to be a highly aggressive type of music, with rhythm and "swing" taking precedence over melody and lyricism. Associated with timba is a radically sexual and provocative dance style known as despelote. It is a dynamic evolution of salsa, full of improvisation and Afro Cuban heritage, based on son, Rumba and mambo, taking inspiration from Latin jazz, and is highly percussive with complex sections. Timba is more flexible and innovative than salsa, and includes a more diverse range of styles. Timba incorporates heavy percussion and rhythms which originally came from the barrios of Cuba.
Afro-Cuban jazz is the earliest form of Latin jazz. It mixes Afro-Cuban clave-based rhythms with jazz harmonies and techniques of improvisation.Afro-Cuban music has deep roots in African ritual and rhythm. Afro-Cuban jazz emerged in the early 1940s with the Cuban musicians Mario Bauzá and Frank Grillo "Machito" in the band Machito and his Afro-Cubans in New York City. In 1947, the collaborations of bebop trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie and percussionist Chano Pozo brought Afro-Cuban rhythms and instruments, such as the tumbadora and the bongo, into the East Coast jazz scene. Early combinations of jazz with Cuban music, such as "Manteca" and "Mangó Mangüé", were commonly referred to as "Cubop" for Cuban bebop.
Afro-Caribbean music is a broad term for music styles originating in the Caribbean from the African diaspora. These types of music usually have West African/Central African influence because of the presence and history of African people and their descendants living in the Caribbean, as a result of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. These distinctive musical art forms came about from the cultural mingling of African, Indigenous, and European inhabitants. Characteristically, Afro-Caribbean music incorporates components, instruments and influences from a variety of African cultures, as well as Indigenous and European cultures.
Songo is a genre of popular Cuban music, created by the group Los Van Van in the early 1970s. Songo incorporated rhythmic elements from folkloric rumba into popular dance music, and was a significant departure from the son montuno/mambo-based structure which had dominated popular music in Cuba since the 1940s. Blas Egües was the first drummer in Los Van Van, but it was the band's second drummer, José Luis Quintana "Changuito", who developed songo into the world-wide phenomenon it is today.
Machito was a Latin jazz musician who helped refine Afro-Cuban jazz and create both Cubop and salsa music. He was raised in Havana with the singer Graciela, his foster sister.
Rumba is a secular genre of Cuban music involving dance, percussion, and song. It originated in the northern regions of Cuba, mainly in urban Havana and Matanzas, during the late 19th century. It is based on African music and dance traditions, namely Abakuá and yuka, as well as the Spanish-based coros de clave. According to Argeliers León, rumba is one of the major "genre complexes" of Cuban music, and the term rumba complex is now commonly used by musicologists. This complex encompasses the three traditional forms of rumba, as well as their contemporary derivatives and other minor styles.
Jazz drumming is the art of playing percussion in jazz styles ranging from 1910s-style Dixieland jazz to 1970s-era jazz fusion and 1980s-era Latin jazz. The techniques and instrumentation of this type of performance have evolved over several periods, influenced by jazz at large and the individual drummers within it. Stylistically, this aspect of performance was shaped by its starting place, New Orleans, as well as numerous other regions of the world, including other parts of the United States, the Caribbean, and Africa.
In music, a cross-beat or cross-rhythm is a specific form of polyrhythm. The term cross rhythm was introduced in 1934 by the musicologist Arthur Morris Jones (1889–1980). It refers to when the rhythmic conflict found in polyrhythms is the basis of an entire musical piece.
Sub-Saharan African music is characterised by a "strong rhythmic interest" that exhibits common characteristics in all regions of this vast territory, so that Arthur Morris Jones (1889–1980) has described the many local approaches as constituting one main system. C. K. Ladzekpo also affirms the profound homogeneity of approach. West African rhythmic techniques carried over the Atlantic were fundamental ingredients in various musical styles of the Americas: samba, forró, maracatu and coco in Brazil, Afro-Cuban music and Afro-American musical genres such as blues, jazz, rhythm & blues, funk, soul, reggae, hip hop, and rock and roll were thereby of immense importance in 20th century popular music. The drum is renowned throughout Africa.
A guajeo is a typical Cuban ostinato melody, most often consisting of arpeggiated chords in syncopated patterns. Some musicians only use the term guajeo for ostinato patterns played specifically by a tres, piano, an instrument of the violin family, or saxophones. Piano guajeos are one of the most recognizable elements of modern-day salsa. Piano guajeos are also known as montunos in North America, or tumbaos in the contemporary Cuban dance music timba.
Tresillo is a rhythmic pattern used in Latin American music. It is a more basic form of the rhythmic figure known as the habanera.