Salsa > Finding phrase in music

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by ticolora, Apr 7, 2017.

  1. ticolora

    ticolora Member

    I am trying to improve my phrase-finding skill. I found this piece of Salsa on youtube, and it seems like phrase is flipping midway. Very frustrating. I'd appreciate if one of you more apt folks could take a listen at that and see if I'm getting this wrong.

    Search for "abreme la puerta calle real" on youtube, I think it's the first song that comes up.

    I think at 2:07, a cymbal hit cuts a phrase short, and resets at one.

    Somehow, even if I stay on beat, it feels that at some point my dance on 1 becomes dance on 5.

    Background: I built a program (website) for this purpose that plays a salsa song starting at a random point until I get the beat (by tapping on the keyboard) - once I get beat and phrase correctly for 2 bars, it jumps to a different random point. For this to work, I have to tap out the beat of the whole track first, but this particular track is giving me troubles with that sneaky phrase switch.
  2. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Seems as though you have run into a Clave change..not to uncommon in latin music, but does happen on occasion..
  3. ticolora

    ticolora Member

    Maybe I don't understand what clave is, but you are talking about 2/3 vs 3/2 pattern, then I'm confused even more - I don't think there is clave pattern and/or instrument in this song. Is there?
  4. vit

    vit Active Member

    You are sure it was on 2:07? There is nothing unusual there, but there is a break on 1:07, perhaps you had that in mind ?

    If it's about 1:07 (and similar at 0:40), there is an accent on 4, then pause next bar, and then song continues normally with next phrase. However, vocal is sometimes starting / stopping in the middle of the phrase, which can give the wrong impression. This is a kind of timba song, people usually dance casino/cuban salsa to that music, linear salsa dancers are usually not very happy with that music that has somewhat different structure than salsa songs

    However, salsa music is complex and frequently there is a missing or additional bar in the phrase. What would you do, depends again on where you dance. Casino dancers will many times happily switch from on1 to on5 or even to on3. Linear salsa dancers on the other side like to make dramatic stops on musical accents / breaks and if there is a missing/additional bar, align their dancing to beginning of new phrase. Now how do they do it ... they listen salsa music a lot, on the parties, at home, in the car, so they become familiar with the music, and it's easier to predict the next musical change even if it's a song you hear for the first time. Etc.

    Have in mind that salsa is not ballroom, there are no strict rules, rights or wrongs, but it's the local venue making local rules which can vary from place to place / country to country etc
    ticolora likes this.
  5. ticolora

    ticolora Member

    Yes, there is a break at 1:20, but no phrase change (I don't think so). Listen to a cymbal hit on 1:34, which falls nicely on 1. I might be wrong though, since I'm having problem finding "1" in that song. I wouldn't be surprised if there are multiple phrase changes that I don't recognize. Maybe it is indeed not the best song to begin practicing with, but they played it last time at the club, so need to be ready for anything DJ throws at you. Thank you for a relevant and comprehensive response, @vit.
  6. vit

    vit Active Member

    After 1:20 (last accents are 8 &) there is some pause without rhythm, then songs resumes with vocals in slightly slower tempo in different musical structure. It's perfect part to do some solo shines / afrocuban stuff just by the feel until normal rhythm resumes. Crash cymbal around 1:34 is on 5 ("mamee" before that starts slightly after 1). There are many salsa songs with some rumba parts in the middle where it doesn't make sense to continue with salsa partnerwork which doesn't fit into the music - you do some rumba or just improvise
  7. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    There is "Clave " in ALL of true latin music, sometimes implied, other times dominant .
    I have listened to the song, and there is a defined 2/3 clave on piano around3.20, and, this song is More Cuban Son than salsa, altho Calle Real are also known for Timba and the influence is there.
    The rhythmical patter of that song , does not "flow" like more standard salsa songs, and that, also may be why you are having some difficulty in the bar separation..

    Nice song, by the way..
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2017
    opendoor likes this.
  8. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Don't always stay on the beat, ticolora. Allow the music to be real music, rather than simply a metronome or something created on a PC.
  9. ticolora

    ticolora Member

    Rule of art is: "Learn the rules and break them".
    I'm at still at the "learn the rules" stage :)
    opendoor likes this.
  10. snapdancer

    snapdancer Well-Known Member

    Before you break the rules, you first learn the rules. Then you learn the reasons for the rules. Then you learn when and how to break them.
    Mr 4 styles and opendoor like this.

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