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Contradanza (also called contradanza criolla, danza, danza criolla, or habanera) is the Spanish and Spanish-American version of the contradanse, which was an internationally popular style of music and dance in the 18th century, derived from the English country dance and adopted at the court of France. Contradanza was brought to America and there took on folkloric forms that still exist in Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Panama and Ecuador.
In Cuba during the 19th century, it became an important genre, the first written music to be rhythmically based on an African rhythm pattern and the first Cuban dance to gain international popularity, the progenitor of danzón, mambo and cha-cha-cha, with a characteristic "habanera rhythm" and sung lyrics.
Outside Cuba, the Cuban contradanza became known as the habanera – the dance of Havana – and that name was adopted in Cuba itself subsequent to its international popularity in the later 19th century,though it was never so called by the people who created it.
The contradanza was popular in Spain and spread throughout Spanish America during the 18th century. According to musicologist Peter Manuel, it may be impossible to resolve the question of the contradanza's origin, as it has been pointed out by Cuban musicologist Natalio Galán in humoristically labeling the genre as "anglofrancohispanoafrocubano" (English-French-Spanish-African-Cuban).
The most conventional consensus in regard to the origin of this popular Cuban genre was established by novelist Alejo Carpentier, in his book from 1946, La Música en Cuba. In the book, he proposes a theory that signals the French contredance, supposedly introduced in Cuba by French immigrants fleeing the Haitian Revolution (1791–1803), as the prototype for the creation of the creolized Cuban Contradanza.However, according to other important Cuban musicologists, such as Zoila Lapique and Natalio Galan, it is quite likely that the Contradanza had been introduced to Havana directly from Spain, France or England several decades earlier.
The earliest Cuban contradanza of which a record remains is "San Pascual Bailón", which was written in 1803.Certain characteristics would set the Cuban contradanza apart from the contredanse by the mid-19th century, notably the incorporation of the African cross-rhythm called the tresillo.
The habanera is also slower and as a dance more graceful in style than the older contradanza but retains the binary form of classical dance, being composed in two parts of 8 to 16 bars each, though often with an introduction.An early identifiable contradanza habanera, "La Pimienta", an anonymous song published in an 1836 collection, is the earliest known piece to use the characteristic habanera rhythm in the left hand of the piano.
The contradanza, when played as dance music, was performed by an orquesta típica composed of two violins, two clarinets, a contrabass, a cornet, a trombone, an ophicleide, paila and a güiro (Alén 1994:82). But the habanera was sung as well as danced.
During the first half of the 19th century, the contradanza dominated the Cuban musical scene to such an extent that nearly all Cuban composers of the time, whether composing for the concert hall or the dance hall, tried their hands at the contradanza (Alén 1994:82). Among them Manuel Saumell (1817–1870) is the most noted (Carpentier 2001:185–193).
The New Orleans born pianist/composer Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829–1869) wrote several pieces with the rhythm, gleaned in part from his travels through Cuba and the West Indies: "Danza" (1857), "La Gallina, Danse Cubaine" (1859), "Ojos Criollos" (1859) and "Souvenir de Porto Rico" (1857) among others.
It is thought that the Cuban style was brought by sailors to Spain, where it became popular for a while before the turn of the twentieth century. The Basque composer Sebastian Yradier's "La Paloma" ("The Dove"), achieved great fame in Spain and America. The dance was adopted by all classes of society and had its moment in English and French salons.
It was so well established as a Spanish dance that Jules Massenet included one in the ballet music to his opera Le Cid (1885). Maurice Ravel wrote a Vocalise-Étude en forme de Habanera, and a habanera for Rapsodie espagnole (movement III, originally a piano piece written in 1895), Camille Saint-Saëns' Havanaise for violin and orchestra is still played and recorded today, as is Emmanuel Chabrier's Habanera for orchestra (originally for piano). Bernard Herrmann's score for Vertigo (1958) makes prominent use of the rhythm as a clue to the film's mystery.
In Andalusia (especially Cadiz), Valencia, Alicante, and Catalonia, the habanera is still popular. "La Paloma", "La bella Lola" or "El meu avi" ("My Grandfather") are well known.From Spain, the style arrived in the Philippines where it still exists as a minor art-form.
In the 20th century, the habanera gradually became a relic form in Cuba, especially after the success of the son. However, some of its compositions were transcribed and reappeared in other formats later on: Eduardo Sánchez de Fuentes' Tú is still a much-loved composition.The music and dance of the contradanza/danza are no longer popular in Cuba but are occasionally featured in the performances of folklore groups.
The habanera rhythm's time signature is 2
4. An accented upbeat in the middle of the bar lends power to the habanera rhythm, especially when it is as a bass ostinato in contradanzas such as "Tu madre es conga." Syncopated cross-rhythms called the tresillo and the cinquillo , basic rhythmic cells in Afro-Latin and African music, began the Cuban dance's differentiation from its European form. Their unequally-grouped accents fall irregularly in a one or two bar pattern: the rhythm superimposes duple and triple accents in cross-rhythm (3:2) or vertical hemiola.
This pattern is heard throughout Africa, and in many diaspora musics,known as the congo, tango-congo, and tango. Thompson identifies the rhythm as the Kongo mbilu a makinu ("call to the dance"). The syncopated rhythm may be vocalised as "boom...ba-bop-bop", and "da, ka ka kan." It may be sounded with the Ghanaian beaded gourd instrument axatse, vocalized as: "pa ti pa pa", beginning on the second beat so that the last "pa" coincides with beat one, ending on the beginning of the cycle so that the part contributes to the cyclic nature of the rhythm, the "pa's" sounding the tresillo by striking the gourd against the knee, and the "ti" sounding the main beat two by raising the gourd and striking it with the free hand.
The cinquillo pattern is sounded on a bell in the folkloric Congolese-based makuta as played in Havana.
Carpentier (2001:149) states that the cinquillo was brought to Cuba in the songs of the black slaves and freedmen who emigrated to Santiago de Cuba from Haiti in the 1790s and that composers in western Cuba remained ignorant of its existence:
In the days when a trip from Havana to Santiago was a fifteen-day adventure (or more), it was possible for two types of contradanza to coexist: one closer to the classical pattern, marked by the spirits of the minuet, which later would be reflected in the danzón , by way of the danza; the other, more popular, which followed its evolution begun in Haiti, thanks to the presence of the 'French Blacks' in eastern Cuba.— Carpentier 2001:150
Manuel disputes Carpentier's claim, mentioning "at least a half a dozen Havana counterparts whose existence refutes Carpentier's claim for the absence of the cinquillo in Havana contradanza" (Manuel 2009: 55–56).
8contradanza evolved into the clave (not to be confused with the key pattern of the same name), the criolla and the guajira. From the contradanza in 2
4 came the (danza) habanera and the danzón (Carpentier 2001:147). According to Argeliers Léon (1974:8), the word danza was merely a contraction of contradanza and there are no substantial differences between the music of the contradanza and the danza. Both terms continued to denominate what was essentially the same thing throughout the 19th century. But although the contradanza and danza were musically identical, the dances were different.
A danza entitled "El Sungambelo", dated 1813, has the same structure as the contradanza – the four-section scheme is repeated twice, ABAB (Santos 1982) and the cinquillo rhythm can already be heard.
The danza dominated Cuban music in the second half of the 19th century, though not as completely as the contradanza had in the first half. Two famous Cuban composers in particular, Ignacio Cervantes (1847–1905) and Ernesto Lecuona (1895–1963), used the danza as the basis of some of their most memorable compositions.
In Cuba the danza was supplanted by the danzón from the 1870s onwards, though the danza continued to be composed as dance music into the 1920s. By this time, the charanga had replaced the orquesta típica of the 19th century (Alén 1994:82 – example: "Tutankamen" by Ricardo Reverón). The danzón has a different but related rhythm, the baqueteo , and the dance is quite different.
The Argentine milonga and tango makes use of the habanera rhythm of a dotted quarter-note followed by three eighth-notes, with an accent on the first and third notes.To some extent the habanera rhythm is retained in early tangos, notably El Choclo and "La Morocha" (1904). As the consistent rhythmic foundation of the bass line in Argentine tango the habanera lasted for a relatively short time until a variation, noted by Roberts, began to predominate. p124
In 1883 Ventura Lynch, a student of the dances and folklore of Buenos Aires, noted the milonga was "so universal in the environs of the city that it is an obligatory piece at all the lower-class dances (bailecitos de medio pelo), and ... has also been taken up by the organ-grinders, who have arranged it so as to sound like the habanera dance. It is danced in the low life clubs ..."
Ornamented and distributed throughout the texture, the contradanza remains an essential part of the tango's music.p2 Anibal Troilo's "La trampera" (Cheating Woman), recorded by him in 1962, uses the same habanera heard in Bizet's Carmen.
African-American music began incorporating Cuban musical motifs in the 1800s. Musicians from Havana and New Orleans would take the twice-daily ferry between those cities to perform. Whether the rhythm and its variants were directly transplanted from Cuba or merely reinforced similar rhythmic tendencies already present in New Orleans is probably impossible to determine. The habanera rhythm is heard prominently in New Orleans second line music, and there are examples of similar rhythms in some African-American folk music such as the foot-stamping patterns in ring shout and in post-Civil War drum and fife music.John Storm Roberts states that the musical genre "reached the U.S. 20 years before the first rag was published".
For the more than quarter-century in which the cakewalk, ragtime, and proto-jazz were forming and developing, the habanera was a consistent part of African-American popular music.Early New Orleans jazz bands had habaneras in their repertoire and the tresillo/habanera figure was a rhythmic staple of jazz at the turn of the 20th century. A habanera was written and published in Butte, Montanta in 1908. The song was titled "Solita" and was written by Jack Hangauer. Scott Joplin's "Solace" (1909) is considered a habanera (though it is labeled a "Mexican serenade"). "St. Louis Blues" (1914) by W. C. Handy has a habanera/tresillo bass line. Handy noted a reaction to the habanera rhythm included in Will H. Tyler's "Maori": "I observed that there was a sudden, proud and graceful reaction to the rhythm ... White dancers, as I had observed them, took the number in stride. I began to suspect that there was something Negroid in that beat." After noting a similar reaction to the same rhythm in "La Paloma", Handy included this rhythm in his "St. Louis Blues", the instrumental copy of "Memphis Blues", the chorus of "Beale Street Blues", and other compositions.
Jelly Roll Morton considered the tresillo/habanera (which he called the Spanish tinge) an essential ingredient of jazz.The rhythm can be heard in the left hand on songs such as "The Crave" (1910, recorded in 1938).
Now in one of my earliest tunes, "New Orleans Blues", you can notice the Spanish tinge. In fact, if you can't manage to put tinges of Spanish in your tunes, you will never be able to get the right seasoning, I call it, for jazz.
Although the exact origins of jazz syncopation may never be known, there’s evidence that the habanera/tresillo was there at its conception. Buddy Bolden, the first known jazz musician, is credited with creating the big four, a habanera-based pattern. The big four (below) was the first syncopated bass drum pattern to deviate from the standard on-the-beat march.As the example below shows, the second half of the big four pattern is the habanera rhythm.
The music of Cuba, including its instruments, performance and dance, comprises a large set of unique traditions influenced mostly by west African and European music. Due to the syncretic nature of most of its genres, Cuban music is often considered one of the richest and most influential regional musics of the world. For instance, the son cubano merges an adapted Spanish guitar (tres), melody, harmony, and lyrical traditions with Afro-Cuban percussion and rhythms. Almost nothing remains of the original native traditions, since the native population was exterminated in the 16th century.
The music of Puerto Rico has evolved as a heterogeneous and dynamic product of diverse cultural resources. The most conspicuous musical sources have been Spain and West Africa, although many aspects of Puerto Rican music reflect origins elsewhere in Europe and the Caribbean. Puerto Rican music culture today comprises a wide and rich variety of genres, ranging from essentially indigenous genres like bomba to recent hybrids like Latin trap and reggaeton. Broadly conceived, the realm of "Puerto Rican music" should naturally comprise the music culture of the millions of people of Puerto Rican descent who have lived in the United States, and especially in New York City. Their music, from salsa to the boleros of Rafael Hernández, cannot be separated from the music culture of Puerto Rico itself.
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 bossa nova and samba.
Danzón is the official musical genre and dance of Cuba. It is also an active musical form in Mexico, and is much loved in Puerto Rico as well. Written in 2
4 time, the danzón is a slow, formal partner dance, requiring set footwork around syncopated beats, and incorporating elegant pauses while the couples stand listening to virtuoso instrumental passages, as characteristically played by a charanga or tipica ensemble.
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 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.
The guaracha is a genre of music that originated in Cuba, of rapid tempo and comic or picaresque lyrics. The word had been used in this sense at least since the late 18th and early 19th century. Guarachas were played and sung in musical theatres and in low-class dance salons. They became an integral part of bufo comic theatre in the mid-19th century. During the later 19th and the early 20th century the guaracha was a favourite musical form in the brothels of Havana. The guaracha survives today in the repertoires of some trova musicians, conjuntos and Cuban-style big bands.
Danza is a musical genre that originated in Ponce, a city in southern Puerto Rico. It is a popular turn-of-the-twentieth-century ballroom dance genre slightly similar to the waltz. Both the danza and its cousin the contradanza are sequence dances, performed to a pattern, usually of squares, to music that was instrumental. Neither the contradanza nor the danza were sung genres; this is a contrast to, for example, the habanera, which was a sung genre. There is some dispute as to whether the danza was in any sense a different dance from the contradanza, or whether it was just a simplification of the name. Through the first part of the 19th century the dance and its music became steadily more creolized. The music and the dance is creolized because composers were consciously trying to integrate African and European ideas because many of the people themselves were creoles, that is, born in the Caribbean; accepting their islands as their true and only homeland.
A cinquillo is a typical Cuban/Caribbean rhythmic cell, used in the Cuban contradanza and the danzón. The figure is also a common bell pattern found throughout sub-Saharan Africa. It consists of an eighth, a sixteenth, an eighth, a sixteenth, and an eighth note.
The Spanish tinge is an Afro-Latin rhythmic touch that spices up the more conventional 4
4 rhythms commonly used in jazz and pop music. The phrase is a quotation from Jelly Roll Morton. In his Library of Congress recordings, after referencing the influence of his own French Creole culture in his music, he noted the Spanish presence:
Then we had Spanish people there. I heard a lot of Spanish tunes. I tried to play them in correct tempo, but I personally didn't believe they were perfected in the tempos. Now take the habanera "La Paloma", which I transformed in New Orleans style. You leave the left hand just the same. The difference comes in the right hand — in the syncopation, which gives it an entirely different color that really changes the color from red to blue. Now in one of my earliest tunes, "New Orleans Blues", you can notice the Spanish tinge. In fact, if you can't manage to put tinges of Spanish in your tunes, you will never be able to get the right seasoning, I call it, for jazz.
Cuban folk music includes a variety of traditional folk music of Cuba, and has been influenced by the Spanish and the African culture as well as the remaining indigenous population of the Caribbean.
The music of New Orleans assumes various styles of music which have often borrowed from earlier traditions. New Orleans, Louisiana, is especially known for its strong association with jazz music, universally considered to be the birthplace of the genre. The earliest form was dixieland, which has sometimes been called traditional jazz, 'New Orleans', and 'New Orleans jazz'. However, the tradition of jazz in New Orleans has taken on various forms that have either branched out from original dixieland or taken entirely different paths altogether. New Orleans has also been a prominent center of funk, home to some of the earliest funk bands such as The Meters.
Manuel Saumell Robredo, was a Cuban composer known for his invention and development of genuinely creolized forms of music. For this reason he gets the credit for being the first to cultivate Cuban musical nationalism, and is of similar standing to Glinka who initiated Russian musical nationalism with A Life for the Tsar at about the same time.
Eduardo Sánchez de Fuentes was a Cuban composer, and an author of books on the history of Cuban folk music.
Early Cuban bands played popular music for dances and theatres during the period 1780–1930. During this period Cuban music became creolized, and its European and African origins gradually changed to become genuinely Cuban. Instrumentation and music continually developed during this period. The information listed here is in date order, and comes from whatever records survive to the present day.
Miguel Faílde Pérez was a Cuban musician and bandleader. He was the official originator of the danzón, and the founder of the Orquesta Faílde.
Raimundo Valenzuela de Leon was a leading Cuban trombonist, composer and bandleader.
Cuban culture encompasses a wide range of dance forms. The island's indigenous people performed rituals known as areíto, which included dancing, although little information is known about such ceremonies. After the colonization of Cuba by the Spanish Kingdom, European dance forms were introduced such as the French contredanse, which gave rise to the Cuban contradanza. Contradanza itself spawned a series of ballroom dances between the 19th and 20th centuries, including the danzón, mambo and cha-cha-cha. Rural dances of European origin, such as the zapateo and styles associated with punto guajiro also became established by the 19th century, and in the 20th century son became very popular. In addition, numerous dance traditions were brought by black slaves from West Africa and the Congo basin, giving rise to religious dances such as Santería, yuka and abakuá, as well as secular forms such as rumba. Many of these dance elements from European dance and religious dances were fused together to form the basis of la técnica cubana. Cuban music also contributed to the emergence of Latin dance styles in the United States, namely rhumba and salsa.
Tresillo is a rhythmic pattern used in Latin American music. It is a more basic form of the rhythmic figure known as the habanera.
Kontradans or the French-Haitian Contredanse, is creolized dance music formed in the 18th century in the French colony of Saint-Domingue (Haiti) that evolved from the English contra dance, or, which eventually spread throughout the Caribbean, Louisiana, Europe and the rest of the New World from the Creoles of Saint-Domingue.
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