Friday, May 17, 2013

Clave capers

Please don't ask me about the title of this piece— I just wrote the first two words I thought of. I think there's a Billy Taylor tune called Cuban Capers I played once... it's not important. Afro-Cuban music is not my area of expertise, so I'll just say that what we're about here is getting better acquainted with the triplet “pull” of the clave rhythm by combining its 4/4 and 6/8 versions. Hopefully we'll all come away from these exercises with a little better sense of the malleability of the rhythm.

I thought I was being a very clever student by devising this exercise, but upon consulting my copy of Conversations In Clave, I see that the author of that book has already written something very similar. But I guess that means we're not totally off base with this:

Play the top line with the right hand, and the bottom line with the left. You should also play each exercise leading with the left hand, and with all other combinations of limbs, and do them all with the measures reversed, in the 2-3 position. You might also try playing half notes in the RH or LF, while playing the exercises with all combinations of the remaining limbs. Play the clave rhythm strongly, and the filler softly, so the clave comes through clearly.

Typo alert: the last note on the first line should be played with the left hand.

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