Understanding the Clave

Frank Regan

Frank Regan

By Frank Regan

 

1st measure 2nd measure
3/2 CLAVE  1   &   2   &   3   &   4   &

^        ^       ^

  1   &   2   &   3   &   4   &

^    ^

 

1st measure 2nd measure
2/3 CLAVE   1   &   2   &   3   &   4   &

^    ^

1   &   2   &   3   &   4   &

^        ^        ^

The Clave is the basis for all Mambo, Salsa and authentic Cha Cha and Rumba arrangements. Sometimes it is obvious. Sometimes it is present as transparent.

Other percussion instruments which have obvious points of convergence with the clave are the Conga, the timbales and the cowbell.

The Piano features a rhythm figure known as the montuno and also is correlated blatantly to the clave.