Claves

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Claves
Claves.jpg
Percussion instrument
Classification Hand percussion
Hornbostel–Sachs classification 111.11
(Concussion idiophone)

Claves ( /ˈklɑːvz,klvz/ ; 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. [1] [2] Although traditionally made of wood (typically rosewood, ebony or grenadilla) many modern manufacturers offer claves made of fiberglass or plastic.

Contents

When struck, claves produce a bright, penetrating clicking noise. This makes them useful when playing in large dance bands. [3] Claves are sometimes hollow and carved in the middle to amplify the sound.

History

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. [4]

Many examples of clave-like instruments can be found around the world. [5]

Technique

Playing a pair of claves Playingclaves.jpg
Playing a pair of claves

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. [6]

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. [7]

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.

Use in classical music

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. [8]

See also

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Timba

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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 Latin jazz musician

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 Art of playing percussion, predominantly the drum set, in jazz styles

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Guajeo

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.

References

  1. "Claves – Instruments of the world". instrumentsoftheworld.com. Retrieved 2020-09-23.
  2. "Claves | musical instrument". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2020-09-23.
  3. Blades, James; Brett, Thomas (2013). "Claves". Grove Music Online. doi:10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.A2240531 . Retrieved 2020-09-23.
  4. Godfried T. Toussaint, "A mathematical analysis of African, Brazilian, and Cuban clave rhythms," Proceedings of BRIDGES: Mathematical Connections in Art, Music and Science, Towson University, Towson, MD, July 27–29, 2002, pp. 157–168.
  5. Shepherd, John (2003). "Claves". Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World. Vol. 2. pp. 352–355. ISBN   978-0-8264-6322-7.
  6. Klöwer, Töm (1997). The Joy of Drumming: Drums & Percussion Instruments From Around the World. Binkey Kok. p. 72. ISBN   90-74597-31-9. OCLC   38453581.
  7. Karl Peinkofer and Fritz Tannigel, Handbook of Percussion Instruments, (Mainz, Germany: Schott, 1976), 142.
  8. Steve Reich, Writings about Music, New York University Press, 1974.

Sources