Tumbao

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In music of Afro-Cuban origin, tumbao is the basic rhythm played on the bass. Tumbao_sentence_0

In North America, the basic conga drum pattern used in popular music is also called tumbao. Tumbao_sentence_1

In the contemporary form of Cuban popular dance music known as timba, piano guajeos are known as tumbaos. Tumbao_sentence_2

Bass pattern Tumbao_section_0

Clave-neutral Tumbao_section_1

The tresillo pattern is the rhythmic basis of the ostinato bass tumbao in Cuban son-based musics, such as son montuno, mambo, salsa, and Latin jazz. Tumbao_sentence_3

Often the last note of the measure is held over the downbeat of the next measure. Tumbao_sentence_4

In this way, only the two offbeats of tresillo are sounded. Tumbao_sentence_5

The first offbeat is known as bombo, and the second offbeat (last note) is sometimes referred to as ponche. Tumbao_sentence_6

The following example is written in cut-time (2/2). Tumbao_sentence_7

Clave-aligned Tumbao_section_2

Arsenio Rodríguez's group introduced bass tumbaos that have a specific alignment with clave. Tumbao_sentence_8

The 2-3 bass line of "Dame un cachito pa' huele" (1946) coincides with three of the clave's five strokes. Tumbao_sentence_9

David García identifies the accents of "and-of-two" (in cut-time) on the three-side, and the "and-of-four" (in cut-time) on the two-side of the clave, as crucial contributions of Rodríguez's music. Tumbao_sentence_10

The two offbeats are present in the following 2-3 bass line from Rodríguez's "Mi chinita me botó" (1944). Tumbao_sentence_11

Moore points out that Rodríguez's conjunto introduced the two-celled bass tumbaos, that moved beyond the simpler, single-cell tresillo structure. Tumbao_sentence_12

This type of bass line has a specific alignment to clave, and contributes melodically to the composition. Tumbao_sentence_13

Rodríguez's brother Raúl Travieso recounted, Rodríguez insisted that his bass players make the bass "sing." Tumbao_sentence_14

Moore states: "This idea of a bass tumbao with a melodic identity unique to a specific arrangement was critical not only to timba, but also to Motown, rock, funk, and other important genres." Tumbao_sentence_15

Timba Tumbao_section_3

Timba tumbaos incorporate techniques from funk, such as slapping, and pulling the strings in a percussive way. Tumbao_sentence_16

The following excerpt demonstrates several characteristics of timba bass. Tumbao_sentence_17

This is Alain Pérez's tumbao from a performance of Issac Delgado piece "La vida sin esperanza." Tumbao_sentence_18

Pérez's playful interpretation of the tumbao is what timba authority Kevin Moore refers to as “controlled improvisation;" the pattern continuously varies within a set framework. Tumbao_sentence_19

Conga drum pattern Tumbao_section_4

Clave-neutral Tumbao_section_5

The basic son montuno tumbao pattern is played on the conga drum. Tumbao_sentence_20

The conga was first used in bands during the late 1930s, and became a staple of mambo bands of the 1940s. Tumbao_sentence_21

The primary strokes are sounded with open tones, on the last offbeats (2&, 2a) of a two-beat cycle. Tumbao_sentence_22

The fundamental accent—2& is referred to by some musicians as ponche. Tumbao_sentence_23

Clave-aligned Tumbao_section_6

The basic tumbao sounds slaps (triangle noteheads) and open tones (regular noteheads) on the "and" offbeats. Tumbao_sentence_24

There are many variations on the basic tumbao. Tumbao_sentence_25

For example, a very common variant sounds a single open tone with the third stroke of clave (ponche), and two tones preceding the three-side of clave. Tumbao_sentence_26

The specific alignment between clave and this tumbao is critical. Tumbao_sentence_27

Another common variant uses two drums and sounds bombo (1a) on the tumba (3-side of the clave). Tumbao_sentence_28

For example: Tumbao_sentence_29

Songo era Tumbao_section_7

Beginning in the late 1960s, band conga players began incorporating elements from folkloric rhythms, especially rumba. Tumbao_sentence_30

Changuito and Raúl "el Yulo" Cárdenas of Los Van Van pioneered this approach of the songo era. Tumbao_sentence_31

In several songo arrangements, the tumbadora ('conga') part sounds the typical tumbao on the low-pitched drum, while replicating the quinto (lead drum) of guaguancó on the high-pitched drum. Tumbao_sentence_32

The quinto-like phrases can continually change, but they are based upon a specific counter-clave motif. Tumbao_sentence_33

Timba era Tumbao_section_8

Tomás Cruz developed several adaptions of folkloric rhythms when working in Paulito FG's timba band of the 1990s. Tumbao_sentence_34

Cruz's creations offered clever counterpoints to the bass and chorus. Tumbao_sentence_35

Many of his tumbaos span two or even four claves in duration, something very rarely done previously. Tumbao_sentence_36

He also made more use of muted tones in his tumbaos, all the while advancing the development of . Tumbao_sentence_37

The example on the right is one of Cruz's inventos ('musical inventions'), a band adaptation of the Congolese-based Afro-Cuban folkloric rhythm makuta. Tumbao_sentence_38

He played the pattern on three congas on the Paulito song "Llamada anónima". Tumbao_sentence_39

Timba keyboard guajeos Tumbao_section_9

The Cuban jazz pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba developed a technique of pattern and harmonic displacement in the 1980s, which was adopted into timba tumbaos (timba piano guajeos) in the 1990s. Tumbao_sentence_40

Many timba bands use two keyboards, such as Issac Delgado's group, which features's Melón Lewis (1st keyboard) and Pepe Rivero (2nd keyboard). Tumbao_sentence_41


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tumbao.