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Re: Rumba Rhythm
Posted by dancelover2012
11/24/2012  11:38:00 PM
Many thanks for your knowlege sharing, terence2!
I still have one question: Walter Laird said beat 2 in Rumba music is still dominant. Is this right? I still have doubt about something written in Walter Laird book, it is not repaired for a long time.
Re: Rumba Rhythm
Posted by Waltz123
11/26/2012  3:54:00 PM
Walter Laird said beat 2 in Rumba music is still dominant. Is this right?

That depends on what he means by "dominant".

In all Western music with standard time signatures (3/4, 4/4, 6/8, etc), beat 1 is always considered the "strongest" beat, as it has in inherent, built-in implied strength known as Agogic stress. It is this natural strength that allows your ear to recognize which is the first beat, and it's always true, no matter where the accents in the music fall. There can even be no music at all on the 1 (i.e. a rest on beat 1 for the entire orchestra), and it's still considered the strongest beat.

In 4/4 music, the order of strength is as follows: 1, 3, 2, 4. You can actually extend that to any equal pair of musical durations -- two beats, two measures, two 16-bar phrases -- and the first is always considered stronger than the second. So for dancers who like to count to 8, you get the following order of strength: 1, 5, 3, 7, 2, 6, 4, 8.

All that being said, dancing is far more an artistic endeavor than it is a mathematical one, and so what you choose to follow will depend on your own sense of what sounds or feels "right". For example, one might choreograph a piece so that the dancers' feet follow the melody, or perhaps a particular instrument, such as the bass. A dancer might alternatively choose to create his own melody by dancing on time with the tempo, but following no instrument at all. In this way he is acting as a separate instrument, layering a new rhythm into the fabric of the orchestration.

That's not to say that all is fair and anything goes, however. Certain choices will be considered more "musical" or artistically preferable based on how well they complement the music. In ballroom dancing we tend to start with a repeatable and recognizable structure that follows a basic rhythmic pattern known to complement the music to which it is being danced, and add variations of timing that work as accents of their own. The most musical dancers will respond to the particular piece and adjust accordingly.

As for International Rumba, I am of the opinion that it has evolved so dramatically from its musical roots, that all justification for breaking on beat 2 has long since faded away. People are so attached to the 2,3,4,1 rhythm that their brain accepts it as correct, the same way your brain will grow attached to a particular rendition of a tune after years of listening that when you hear a different version, you are very unlikely to accept it as better or even equal. If an extremely accomplished Latin dancer were to somehow have the rhythm erased from his brain altogether, then be presented with any Rumba song from the last 50 years and asked what beat sounds the most musical for the forward break, I would expect him with absolute certainty to say either "1" or "3".

The clave to which people often refer as a justification for breaking on 2 is nothing more than a subtle background instrument in today's Rumba music. The more authentic the music, the more the rest of the band is likely to complement the clave rhythm in some ways, but it is a rare passage of music where the whole band plays a concerted clave. Typical orchestration is more disconcerted and includes sounds on every beat, such that the clave, while present, is arguably a weaker force to follow than the natural agogic stress of the basic beat structure. My conclusion, therefore, is that it takes a very authentic and clave-strong Afro Cuban piece of music before one should be inclined to follow the clave over basic agogic structure, and even then, a case could be made either way.

But -- After having said all that, factoring in what's socially acceptable, I still recommend you break on 2. It may be less musical, but since most people don't know that, the point is moot. Everybody will *think* you're more musical if you break on 2. And isn't that the point?

Isn't it?

Regards,
Jonathan
Re: Rumba Rhythm
Posted by dancelover2012
11/28/2012  9:27:00 AM
Thanks for your explaination with scholar knowlege. Thank to it I know more.

But maybe something I forget to make it clear: I only want to know about Rumba music, not how to dance Rumba, that is, I want to know about the dominant beat in Rumba music using in world dance competitions. I do not mention about we should break on weak beat or strong beat in Rumba dancing.

1. Listen to any rumba song now, without Afro-Cuban Clave, it is easy to recognize one strong beat follow by a weak beat. Is the strong beat 1 (and 3) and the weak beat 2 (and 4)? The question is the same with "Is rumba played normal (agogic stress) or syncopated?"

2. In Rhythm To Results - Rumba of Ton Greten, he said Rumba music has a strong beat on 4. You can hear the clave and bongo at below links

Clave:
http://www.dsi-london.com/media/files/RTR-Rumba/02%20Clave.mp3

Bongo:
http://www.dsi-london.com/media/files/RTR-Rumba/04%20Bongo.mp3

You can hear only beat 4 is strong, the remain beat 1/2/3 are weak. In this way, beat 4 is modified to be a percussive accent. And this form is not a syncopation.

3. But in Walter Laird book, page 37, he wrote: percussive accents associated with the 2nd beat (slight) and the 4th beat (predominant) of each bar. In this way, Rumba music is played syncopated.

My question is that what is the "right" Rumba music for world dance competitions?






Re: Rumba Rhythm
Posted by O.Z.
11/28/2012  2:08:00 PM
It does get confusing. If you can watch a demonstration by a world class Latin Dancer in the Rumba.Note I have used the word, demonstration. We have seen a couple dancing to Shirly Bassy " The Greatest Performance of My Life ". Danced by Donnie Burns.Then we have Celon Dion singing The Theme from the film " Titanic " Or, Till you came into my life sung by Colm Wilkinson and danced by Paul Killick. How about the Lady in Red I would like a dollar for every time I have danced to that one. That sung by the composer has a distinct accent on beat 4. So what is a Rumba going to be in the future. Will it be a recording that the genral public will buy. Some artist wether by design or accident do record music that is suitable for the Rumba. Several of Elton John's come into that catogory.
" Blessed ". being one of them. I really dont believe that music which worries about Claves and Sons and Bongos will cause the genral public to run out and buy it. Another point ...Who knows how one step forward on beat two is being counted these days. Try on 2 and er. Any argument there see Espen Salsberg.He can easily be found with Slavik providing the action.. Another point I would to make is. I have watched African Dancing danced to a Djembie drum which is authentic. Up to this point I have seen nothing that even remotely resembles a Cuban Motion or a Rumba. It has its roots in Cuba and Cuba only.
Re: Rumba Rhythm
Posted by terence2
12/1/2012  4:38:00 AM


As I suspected, your choice of music for which to dance Rumba too , is not surprising . What ANY of that has to do with Rumba, is beyond my ( and ALL latinos ) understanding .

There are 100s upon 100s of amazing Rumbas that would be suitable for usage in the Intern genre.. the problem why not ?.. the majority of prof. , have little or no knowledge , beyond following a format that,they believe the general public want and has been indoctrinated in, for multi yrs ( there are some notable exceptions ).

Why do think that, Salsa has become a world wide phenomenon ?.......its the MUSIC ..

And, you quote an African drum.. well,it maybe the 1st"sound " heared, but. it was not Afro /CUBAN , and that really is the whole point !.

Dance,is about "education " in ALL aspects .
Re: Rumba Rhythm
Posted by nloftofan1
12/6/2012  9:26:00 AM
One professional dance instructor I know thinks that the reason that Salsa became very popular while Mambo faded out as a popular dance style is that breaking on "1" (Salsa) is easier than breaking on "2". I don't want to get into an argument with people who argue that Salsa dancers don't always break on the 1 beat (argue with my instructor friend). He just thinks that Salsa caught on because it is easier; many people have trouble "finding" the 2 beat. A lot of Salsa music is very good, but so is a lot of Mambo music (and you can dance Mambo to Salsa music, as long as the 1 beat isn't too heavy).
Re: Rumba Rhythm
Posted by terence2
12/11/2012  6:18:00 AM


There are 2 probable reasons.. one you cited, and, possibly , the greater reason.

A very high percentage of salsa " teachers ?", had/have no formal training, so, never being exposed to 2, either in dance or teaching, the easy way out, was "1" ,because thats the way THEY were taught .

And , is 2 more difficult than 1 ?.. not necessarily, it depends how its approached, and, by whom is doing the teaching .

People even complain about not being able to find the 1 . So, its much an individual thing .

2 points....

You CANT dance mambo to ALL salsa music, much of it, is written in a different musical format, and would make little sense for interpretation, musically speaking.

By the, way you hi- jacked the posts.. it really was about Rumba
Re: Rumba Rhythm
Posted by terence2
12/1/2012  4:59:00 AM


What Wally meant was.. the "2", was the break point in each bar .

Dominant is a word that needs to be very specific. Most people recognise the "downbeat " ( the "1" ) hence its often given dominance. However, IF one for e.g. were learning to dance Son,( heres the word,) the " Emphasis " would be on "4 " primarily on the 2nd bar and is quite dominant.

I believe a better choice of word may be "stressed " .

Take salsa for e.g... the dominant teaching choice seems to be "1" , altho the musical intent is for the "2".. Then it begs the Q.. is it incorrect to use "1" ?.. answer, it depends upon the song being played . KNOWING which is most suitable, is where the problems lay. Often cited as dancing on Rhythm or Melody .

Back when, when we taught Mambo, only "2" was acceptable, and ,mambo is one of the main contributors, to the format we use today, for both Rumba and Cha Cha. The prime difference, is now the choice of music ( altho in fairness, it has improved in Cha Cha ).

There is one world class Latin coach , who firmly believes that. the music side has gone down the wrong path.... just sayin
Re: Rumba Rhythm
Posted by O.Z.
12/1/2012  2:44:00 PM
I would find it difficult to dance Salsa on beat 2. Like most I dont count 4 or 8
which is the hip movement. If I did change I would not be not counting 5 and 1 .Being that Salsa is a fun dance only, I think I will stick to dancing on the first beat. Does that make sense.
Re: Rumba Rhythm
Posted by terence2
12/2/2012  3:51:00 AM
Thats a common response, tho inaccurate. If trained correctly, no single beat is more difficult than any other.Does "1" come easier to most?. probably .But to me , thats a " cop" out .
I do teach both, primarily so that, the ladies are equipped ,for most dance occasions .

Training ones " ear ", as we do in all dances ( or should ) resolves most timing issues.

Heres why the "2" is important, in the Salsa/Mambo genre.. it is built around the Clave And, there are mostly songs that ,are clave driven ( I also DJ and have a very large library ).

Heres a comparison.. knowing the difference between R and R and Jazz, the same is true for the " Rumba " genre.. discerning the differences between a Guajira and a Cha Cha or a Son Montuno from a Montuno.

Knowing HOW and WHERE the "stresses" in the music are, gives us the opportunity to improvise, and the style of music ,normally dictates that.

Salsa is a " Street " dance, and really has little or no boundaries to conform to, other than reflecting the music within the given parameters.

There are numerous other e.g. in the genre .

But, as I stated, there are some songs ( particularly in NY style salsa ) which " feels " more on "1" .Safe to say that, prety much all the NYC salseros, dont entertain any thing, other than "2" .

Going to back in the day ( 50s and 60s ).. ALL studios and dancers in the States, taught and danced on "2", and,most of our clientele ( which was 1 on 1 teaching ,primarily) were ladies 50 yrs and older . Never came across anyone , in my exstensive coaching travels, that had not mastered the "2" in mambo .

In deference to all of that.. I always believe that music and dance, are of a personal choice nature. So, dont let my pedantry obscure that fact .

NB.. in regards of your " hip " motion comment. Yes, it has its place in the genre.. but.. that becomes secondary to other aspects ( frame/hold for e.g. ) AND... the Cuban motion in salsa, is NOT quite the same concept, as in the Intern. styles ( in fact.its completely out of place, and foreign to the style ).

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