|Clave Consciousness Vol. 1
Son Clave & 12 Bell
Web note one: Cuban music
Through the legacy of the transAtlantic slave trade, the African clave feeling spread throughout the New World, mixed with several European languages, and can be heard in the music of Cuba, Haiti, Domincan Republic, Puerto Rico, Trinidad, Jamaica, Brazil and the United States, among others.
Web note 2:
The fact that the strokes in one half of the pattern are not played in the other is basic to the feeling of the clave. Each half of the rhythm has it own momentum. The placement of the three strokes in the first half is in great contrast to the placement of the two strokes in the second half. The first half is a suspened, off beat feeling and the second half is a resolved, on beat feeling.
Web note 3:
Son Clave is one name musicians use for a very common pattern that you have probably heard. It is so named because it forms the basis of the Cuban Son music and dance. Son is the sound of clave, maracas, bongo, bass, tres guitar, guitar, chorus, and lead singer. Other instruments are also used. It is basically an acoustic sound and was recently made poplar in the United States by the movie and CD Buena Vista Social Club. The Son is the grandfather of what is known as Salsa.
This same pattern could have different names in other parts of the world. In Brazil it might be called "Maculele agogo", in West Africa it might be called "Highlife bell" and in America it might be called "Bo Diddly's rhythm" or the "carpenters knock".
Web note 4
The balance of strokes and spaces in the pattern completely reverses. It changes from a pattern of 5 strokes and 7 spaces to a pattern of 7 strokes and 5 spaces. This change of density is the primary reason why the two patterns feel so different.
Web note 5
Two cycles of the pattern looks like this when written out:
Web note 6
There are other important twelve bell patterns, but this one is the most common, widespread and important one to learn. Another important twelve bell pattern is used in Haitain music. It is very similar to the pattern we leaned here in Clave Consiousness Vol. 1. To learn this pattern, please check out Vol. 4 of my Speaking of Rhythm lessons: Yan Valu
Web note General
When you come to the clave and twelve bell groove sections, If you don't want to hear the counting, you can set the balance to one side and only hear the clave and shaker.