(Instruments in which the end without a membrane is open)
|Developed||19th century, Cuba|
Quinto phrases are played in both triple-pulse (12/8, 6/8) and duple-pulse (4/4, 2/2) structures.
In columbia, triple pulse is the primary structure and duple pulse is secondary.
In yambú and guaguancó duple-pulse is primary and triple-pulse is secondary.
Quinto performance in rumba
The optimum expression of quinto phrasing is shaped by its interaction with the dance and the song, in other words, the complete social event, which is rumba.
Quinto interaction with the song
During the verses of the song the quinto is capable of sublime creativity, while musically subordinate to the lead vocalist.
There are natural pauses in the cadence of the verses, typically one or two measures in length, where the quinto can play succinct phrases in the “holes” left by the singer.
During the verses the quinto does not demonstrate technical virtuosity so much as taste and restraint.
Quinto interaction with the dance
Once the chorus (or montuno section) of the song begins, the phrases of the quinto interact with the dancers more than the lead singer.
At this time, the phrases often accent cross-beats or offbeats.
Many of the quinto phrases correspond directly to accompanying dance steps.
The pattern of quinto strokes and the pattern of dance steps are at times identical, and at other times, imaginatively matched.
The quinto player must be able to switch phrases immediately in response to the dancer’s ever-changing steps.
The quinto vocabulary is used to accompany, inspire and in some ways, compete with the dancers' spontaneous choreography.
Yvonne Daniel states: "The columbia dancer kinesthetically relates to the drums, especially the quinto .
and tries to initiate rhythms or answer the riffs as if he were dancing with the drum as a partner."
Individuality and creativity
Each quintero ('quinto player') interprets the requisite phrases in their own way.
Quintero Armando Peraza (b.
1924) states: "Although there is a structure of rhythm in columbia, yambú, or guaguancó, the good rumbero will always follow the dancer’s steps and at the same time express his own individuality.
Same thing with the dancer, who will have the ‘rules’ of that particular rumba to follow but will put his own particular stamp on each performance.
Creativity and individuality has always been and still is the name of the game."
With an emphasis on competition and individual creativity, the rhythmic vocabulary of quinto has evolved into a rich and pliable art form.
The quinto plays within two main rhythmic modes, corresponding to the two main modes of rumba dancing.
The quinto lock mode is primarily a dyadic melody of slap and open tones, separated by an octave.
The lock melody while constantly varied, maintains a specific relationship to clave, and corresponds to the basic side-to side rumba dance steps.
Put another way, the lock spans four main beats, or a single measure, as is written for this article.
Descendant of the African lead drum
Rumba is an amalgamation of several African drumming traditions, transplanted to Cuba during the time of slavery.
The rhythmic phrasing of the abakuá lead drum bonkó enchemiyá is similar, and in some instances, identical to the quinto.
The following abakuá bonkó phrase is also played by the quinto in rumba.
Regular noteheads indicate open tones and the triangle notehead indicates a slap.
The quinto plays in a contraclave ('counter-clave') fashion.
In fact, the fundamental strokes of the quinto lock can be thought of as a displaced "clave."
The 12/8 version (Columbia) is a displaced triple-pulse “son clave” beginning on 1-and (the first offbeat).
The 4/4 quinto lock (yambú and guaguancó) is a displaced “son clave,” beginning on 1-e (the first offbeat).
Alternating tone-slap melody
The attack-point pattern of the Matanzas-style lock is one clave in length, but its basic melodic structure is a two-clave phrase.
The tone-slap melody usually reverses with every clave.
This style of quinto playing was made popular by the many recordings of Los Muñequitos de Matanzas (1956–present), the most famous rumba group from Matanzas.
In the following example the melodic contour of the first measure (first clave cycle) of quinto is tone-slap-tone, while the contour of the second measure is the reverse: slap-tone-slap.
The pattern is shown in both triple-pulse and duple-pulse structures.
Lock variations are created by doubling strokes (sounding the very next pulse), or eliminating strokes.
The following example shows the sparsest form of the alternating lock melody.
The first clave is tone-slap-tone, and the second clave is slap-tone-slap.
The lock is usually constantly varied, but the example below is one of the few forms of the lock that is typically repeated.
Besides the typical rumba context, the lock is found in a form of Afro-Cuban sacred drumming called cajón pa’ los muertos.
The quinto lock is the lead part when yambú is played in these ceremonies.
The main emphasis of the lock is 1-e, the first offbeat in a measure of 4/4.
Certain phrases resolving on 3-e are periodically used to interrupt the equilibrium of the lock mode.
These can be thought of as secondary resolution phrases.
The following phrase concludes on 3-e.
He was one of the first to record traditional rumba: Afro-Cuban Drums (1952), Changó (1954), Yambú (1958), Mongo (1959), and Bembé (1960).
Santamaría's quinto phrasing was dynamic and creative; he had an unmistakable sound, that was uniquely his own.
He did not analyze his personal style: “When I play I don’t know how I do it, or what I do ...
I just play."
The following fourteen measure example is an excerpt from a quinto performance by Santamaría on his composition "Mi guaguancó" (1959).
The excerpt shows variations on two types of phrases: the lock (A) and the secondary resolution (B).
Santamaría's repetition of what is ordinarily a secondary phrase (B), distinguishes this passage from the typical Matanzas-style approach.
In measures 3, 4, 6, 7, and 13, 3-e is doubled, that is, the very next pulse (3-and) is also sounded.
4/4 cross-beat cycle
During the chorus section the quinto plays cross-beat phrases that contradict the meter by crossing the measure bar.
In 4/4 cross-beats are generated by grouping the regular pulses (sixteenth-notes) in sets of three.
In the following example every third pulse is sounded with a slap.
The entire cross-beat cycle takes three claves (measures) to complete.
The quinto is shown on the top line and clave is shown below.
Like the lock, the cross begins on 1-e, the first offbeat.
Transitioning from the cross to the lock
By alternating between the lock and the cross, the quinto creates larger rhythmic phrases that expand and contract over several clave cycles.
The great Los Muñequintos quintero Jesús Alfonso (1949–2009) described this phenomenon as a man getting “drunk at a party, going outside for awhile, and then coming back inside.”
Quinto cross adopted to modern drum solos
The rhythmic vocabulary of quinto is the source of the most rhythmically dynamic phrases and passages heard in salsa and Latin jazz.
Even with today’s flashy percussion solos, where snare rudiments and other highly developed techniques are used, analysis of the prevailing accents will reveal an underlying quinto structure, of which crossing is the most important.
Selected discography of quinto recordings
- Raíces africanas (AfroCuba de Matanzas) Shanachie CD 66009 (1996).
- Aniversario (Tata Güines) Egrem CD 0156 (1996).
- Guaguancó, v. 1 (Los Muñequitos [Grupo Guaguancó Matancero], Papin) Antilla CD 565 (1956, 1958).
- Guaguancó, v. 2 (Los Muñequitos [Grupo Guaguancó Matancero], Papin) Antilla CD 595 (1958).
- Rumba caliente (Los Muñequitos) Qbadisc CD 9005 (1977, 1988).
- Oye men listen... guaguancó (Los Papines) Bravo CD 105 [n.d.].
- Homenaje a mis colegas (Los Papines) Vitral CD 4105 (1989).
- Drums and Chants [Changó] (Mongo Santamaría) Vaya CD 56 (1954).
- Afro Roots [Yambú, Mongo] (Mongo Santamaría) Prestige CD 24018-2 (1958, 1959 ).
- Festival in Havana (Ignacio Piñeiro) Milestone CD 9337-2 (1955).
- Patato y Totico (Patato Valdés) Verve CD 5037 (1968).
- Guaguancó afro-cubano (Alberto Zayas) Panart 2055 (1955, 1956).
Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quinto (drum).