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la clave

La clave

La Clave

What do you mean "clave"? What is the key? Where does? How to play?

A nice article from salsasulserio.it!

A bit of history
From the sixteenth century until the 17th century, the port warehouses Havana were the nerve centre of the entire capital. Port security, fortified and with a reputation for being irrefutable, made the city the arrival of all boats and with them the riches of the lands of America and impose Havana as indisputably "key of the Indies".

Exchanges and mixings to sea
Year after year, Havana in Cuba and Seville in Spain exchanged men, goods, knowledge and habits, because of the comings and goings of ships on the route. In the harbor mixed the music of Africa, echoes in the memories of black slaves, and the music of Andalusia, helping build a nascent cubanismo. The port of Havana vibrated with activity: it was necessary to repair the wooden boats damaged by storms and pirates and put them back in good order, before returning to sea, laden with valuable goods, at a time of the infamous Bermuda, passage for the return to Europe.

"Ankles".
Ankles were wooden sticks which were used to fix the pieces of boats and were massed by the thousands in the warehouses of the port. Were of a wood incorruptible in seawater and unrivalled quality; they were the essential pieces of a boat, true keystones, without whom nothing would be possible. Were the responsible for safety at sea: you can say that about them rested the entire commercial building. In the hands of the workers and Joiners of the Navy, they clashed at the pace of the work, freeing a deep sound and nostalgic, caused by the hardness of the wood used (both acana, jiqui, guayacan, jucaro, quiebrahacha, etc.).

"Claves"
When work stopped a moment, stores and taverns in the harbour is populated by music and songs and ankles, or "Claves", they became naturally percussion into the hands of poor people who had no tools, and for which the music was a natural and daily activities. Thus, smoothed by time and by the hands of black slaves and prisoners come from Andalusia, la clave glided slowly from its function as a piece of craft to its status as a musical instrument: a port that is a key to the world, two pieces of wood, an essential piece of the boats became another key: that of Cuban music. Indeed, it is to percussion claves that the orchestra relies. And if the performer of the clave rhythm, it's all a building loses falling: that of music. La clave is the spine of the sauce and makes up the heart. It is said that the rhythm of the clave is not learned: one was born with it, or not. But without going to the beat, if only the beat la clave is less trivial than it looks. You take to an extreme one of two sticks in his right hand and it beats rhythmically, with a soft and relaxed traveling from the wrist, on the center of the stick held by the left hand. The hand grip
the left is essential: the chopstick rests between the thumb and fingers.

Symbolism of the clave
Thus rest inside the Palm that takes over as sounding board; the pressure exerted on the fingers, the way to "round up" the Palm and, of course, the power of touch, affect the timbre and the power of sound. The right stick, active, is symbolically the male part of the instrument; While the candy cane backed by the left hand, passive in appearance but from where comes the sound, it is the female. Often, the older players of claves, out of habit or tradition, always use the same hand for the same stick: one will always be the right one, male, and one female left, although the beginning are strictly identical and symmetrical claves. Over time, repeated touches create a "void" in the Woods, so peculiar and different for the two poles: examining a pair of claves used certainly strengthens the symbolism of sexuality. La clave as musical concept is a pattern or patron, to say it in Spanish, two sizes; a syncopated consisting of three strikes and a linear of only two.

The rhythm of the clave
Syncope in Greek means "break", "strike", "break", and in music is to indicate the proceedings for which a note has his attack on a weak time and extends the drive strong next, preventing the latter's strong accent on percussion. This process, if repeated several times at short range, as in our case, it produces an impression of turmoil and instability of rhythm. A syncopated rhythm is a rhythm that are highlighted, in addition to strong accents (beat), even weak accents (BackBeat). While we dance, we reckon the music in eight days. The seasons (or beat) are 1-3-5-7, while in weak times (or an upbeat or syncopated) are 2-4-6-8. It is precisely this asymmetric and binary splitting (in the sense that it consists of two measures) of the time what characterizes and influences strongly the Cuban and Latin music in General. The Syncopated beat, strongly considered, is always opposed to the linear or weak and their mating creates a continuous alternation of tension and relaxation music rhythm. This is undoubtedly one of the most obvious implications of this kind of rhythmic conception but, from a practical point of view we have another: the direction of clave.

The direction of clave
With the direction of clave you plan to define which of the two beats, strong or weak, comes first, as to the assumption that in a song la clave never breaks from start to finish. In this area we often speak of 2/3 and 2/3 clave clubs as if they were two different things. Actually with these two digits you plan to define precisely the direction of clave at any given song or in a pattern. Clave 3/2 means that the song starts with the beat strong (3 shots); Clave 2/3 means that the song begins with the line low (2 shots). Let's meet the most common types of clave. Ancient patterns of African origin is direct still ubiquitous in music of the dark continent along with an infinite number of variations and derivatives. In Cuba were coded by different generations of musicians and musicologists and named after the major music genres.

Two types of clave
There are two main types of clave 3/2: the Son Clave and Rumba Clave. The most famous and used is the Son Clave, definitely Queen of popular music and, nowadays, even the Mall known as salsa.

Son Clave
TIME OF THE CLAVE

Time Son Clave
Dancing on 1
The music 2
On the rhythmic 2
1 CT
1 and 1/2

step 1

PAUSE

PAUSE

2
2 and 1/2 CT

step 2

step 1

step 4

3
3 3 and 1/2

step 2

step 5

4 CT
4 and 1/2

PAUSE

5
5 and 1/5

step 4

PAUSE

PAUSE

6 CT
6 and 1/2

step 5

step 4

step 1

7 CT
7 and 1/2

step 5

step 2

8

PAUSE

Listening to a song, we can follow the melody counting the 1-2-3 "otto"-4-5-6-7-8 etc., or the rhythmic chanting la clave PA–PA-PA-PA-PA-.
The "end of tour" we are again on a musical, ready to count another one or to ricantare the first shot of clave. Obviously we can do the same thing by dancing, we can that is moving in reference to the melody music, words), or to the beat.

The rhythm is punctuated by the percussion section of the orchestra. Each percussion performs a peculiar rhythm pattern, which is headed, direct and inextricably linked to the clave. So much so that when the key is "implied" or covered by the sound of other instruments, you can easily infer from the sound of other percussion instruments.

If we dance Cuban salsa, we will certainly on a musical and then move our first step on the first shot of the clave 3/2.

The puertorican salsa, instead, it is usually danced on 2. Depending on the piece of music, the choreography, the "train of thought" and not the least of personal tastes, the dancer may decide to dance on "two" (or "melodic"), or the "two rhythmic", starting on the first of two strokes image weak (dance clubs) clave.

The two, as we will see later, in the case of a song played in 2/3 clave, overlap perfectly. On the contrary, the dancer who decides to dance on "two rhythmic" a song played in clave 3/2, you'll end up dancing (i.e. move the first step) on six, as shown in the diagram.

Rumba Clave
Then there is the Rumba Clave, also called Clave Cubana, much more widespread in the past 20 years, folklore and, even in more modern or popular music. Is often used in sauces of Cuban rhythm. It essentially differs from only 3/2 clave third shot that instead of being positioned on the 4 1/2 and 4, sits on and is often highlighted by the singers and dancers by chanting: "PA-PA—-Paum-PA-PA".

La Clave 2/3 or Clave Overthrows is played in several songs, or "deduced" from 3/2 by Puerto Rican salsa dancers (basically when they dance on "two" bonus track 3/2 clave) Time 2/3 Rumba Clave Dancing on one on 2 2 rhythmic music.

Time 2/3 Rumba Clave
Dancing on 1
The music 2
On the rhythmic 2
1
1 and 1/2

step 1

PAUSE

PAUSE

2 CT
2 and 1/2

step 2

step 1

step 1

3 CT
3 and 1/2

step 3

step 2

step 2

4
4 and 1/2

PAUSE

step 3

step 3

5 CT
5 and 1/5

step 4

PAUSE

PAUSE

6
6 and 1/2 CT

step 5

step 4

step 4

7
7 and 1/2

step 6

step 5

step 5

8 CT

PAUSE

step 6

step 6

Another thanks to "salsasulserio.it" for the nice article.

About Stefano Bognolo

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