Posts Tagged ‘rhythm’

Visual Salsa: A new way of feeling the Rhythm

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Do you like Salsa music?

Would you want to understand it better, truly express it in your dancing,
feeling the rhythm just like a native born dancer, without having to think about it all the time?

We hope you do, and are working on making it possible for you. We want you to be a part of a new, online Salsa Rhythm course we are creating, experimenting with new ways of rapidly mastering Salsa music. You will help us to custom tailor the course in the way which will work best for you.

Starting small, with a simple widget that will take you through a Salsa song and show you the basic footsteps (whether you are On-1 dancer, On-2 dancer, or interested in both), synchronized with the music and following it. The idea behind this method is to present the sense of repetitive musical patterns in a way other than simply counting numbers. Maybe it will work better for you, who knows? Let’s try!

Go ahead, Try it

The song you will begin with is called “Viva La Esperanza” from “Salsa Kids”. To start, simply hit the blue “play” button on the widget below:

Did you like this widget? Did you find it fun?

We love to hear your feedback. We will be creating additional widgets and similar content in the coming days, and publish them here, in our blog. Please, do leave your feedback – whether positive, negative, or any questions you may have – we want to learn from you what works best, improve and build the most effective Salsa Rhythm course for you.

You can either leave a comment below, use our Facebook page or send us a mail to if you wish. We read and answer every mail!

Special thanks to Gadi Evron and John “salseroblanko” for their ideas of creating this widget and publishing it in this blog.

If you would like to help too, contact us and we will give you the complete instructions how you can embed this HTML widget in your own website :) Happy dancing!

A thank you letter, Cogele El Gusto !

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

Following our latest timing video, “Cogele El Gusto”, I have received a thank-you letter from Denise, who was the reason for making this video. After watching the other timing videos, she joined our mailing list and requested to create a timing video for this song. Putting the video together took nearly a month, and the final result came out very satisfactory.

You can watch the video here, on youtube:

The song “Cogele El Gusto” was recorded by Wayne Gorbea and his band, “Salsa Picante”, back in 1997. It instantly became a hit in the Latin clubs across the UK, and later became popular “Salsa Dura” song in the rest of the world.

The piece is quite long – almost 10 minutes, and it features two trombones, a trumpet, a full percussion section: timbales, congas, bongos, a bass and a piano. The video contains on-screen annotations to explain the music and its structure, and also a visual image of the dominant instrument in each part of the song.

In addition, the video contains a visualization of several key rhythms that are very common in Salsa music:

  • The Clave rhythm. Even though it’s not always present in the music, the Clave rhythm is always implied in the patterns the other instruments play. This is the fundamental rhythm all the other pattern revolve around.
  • The Timbales bell (a.k.a campana / cencerro) – Played during the coro/montuno sections of the song, often accompanied by the Bongocero’s bell. The video visualizes the timbales bell pattern by highlighting the bell whenever it is struck by the player.
  • The Timbales Cáscara - This unique pattern is played on the shell of the Timbales during the verse sections of
    the song. The video visualizes the Cáscara pattern by highlighting the timbales shell whenever it is struck by the the Timbalero.

In addition to the patterns mentioned above, there are some parts of the song where the Cáscara pattern is played on the Timbales bell. This happens during the solos of the congas and the bongos. Don’t worry if you still can’t recognize these patterns yourself – the video will tell you which patten is played in every instant.

Cogele El Gusto by Wayne Gorbea

A screen shot from the new timing video

Finally, I would like to personally thank two people who helped in the creation of this video: Michael Morozov from Israel and Alex Schamenek from Houston, Texas. We are now working on bringing you the next timing video for the song “La Rebelion” by Joe Arroyo y La Verdad.

Exercises to practice your rhythm with the Salsa Beat Machine

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

I have been getting a lot of questions from users about how beginners can use the Salsa Beat Machine to improve their perception of the beat in salsa music. In my opinion, the best way is to practice – and do that gradually, begin from something simple, then slowly increase the difficulty level.

So here are some exercises I came up with for helping you improving your musicality and feeling of the Salsa Rhythm:

1. Turn all instruments off except for the Congas. Now try counting the one and the five. (hint: The should fall exactly after the pam-pam open tone)

2. Turn all instruments off except for the Clave. Repeat the process – try counting while only hearing the clave.

3. Listen to the Clave and the Cowbell playing together. Can you tap both rhythms one in each hand? (e.g. left hand tapping the Clave, while right hand hitting the cowbell accents – 1,3,5,7). Note that this one is not very easy – might require starting at slower BPM, practicing, and gradually increasing the speed.

Do you find these exercises useful? easy? complicated? Can you come up with a few more ? Let me know!

Guaguanco patterns for Congas

Friday, January 15th, 2010

Inspired by an old time Salsa classic song from Joe Arroyo, “En Barranquilla Me Quedo”, I have decided to add Guaguanco pattern to the Congas instrument of the Salsa Beat Machine.

Discovering the Guaguancó

The Guaguancó rhythm, a part of the afrocuban “Rumba” family, was developed back in the middle 1800′s, and can be still found today in many Salsa songs. The best is to listen to a few Guaguanco tunes to get familiar with it. Some of my favorite examples:

  1. Hector Lavoe – Aguanile : The congas playing the guaguanco pattern can be easily heard during the big break in the middle of the song
  2. Joey Pastrana – Rumbón Melón : The bass and the piano can be heard playing the Guaguanco pattern very clearly at 2:45
  3. Joe Arroyo – En Barranquilla Me Quedo : Piano playing guaguanco at 0:30, 1:10

Make your Guaguancó Machine

Note that in order to play the guaguanco correctly, you have to tune the Beat Machine as the following:

  1. Click on the Clave instrument, choose the “Rumba Clave” program, and 3-2 clave orientation
  2. Click on the Congas instrument, and select one of the Guaguancó programs there.
  3. Click on the Bass instrument, and select the Guaguancó 8-8-1-5 program

Conga drums

I like it in when it plays in the A# key, around 110BPM.

Once you have created a machine you are happy with, please click on the blue diskette icon and save it on our server. Then will get a link you can share, post it as a comment to this blog.

I’d love to see some of your creations…