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Question Regarding The Clave

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Leroy La Qua, Sep 22, 2008.


  1. Leroy La Qua

    Leroy La Qua

    Nov 6, 2005
    When playing Latin bass lines should my foot be tapping out the clave rather than the actual beats?
     
  2. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    No way, man.

    That's making it harder than it needs to be, in my opinion.

    Tap on what feels right, and what helps you groove the most.
     
  3. onlyclave

    onlyclave

    Oct 28, 2005
    Seattle
    Don't listen to the Canadian above me.

    Absolutely tap your foot on the pulse. Hear the clave in your head because you are going to use your foot to feel where to place the tumbao. I can guarantee if you tap your foot with the clave it is going to screw you up.
     
  4. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    Did I ever tell him not to hear the Clave, or not tap his foot on the pulse?

    No.
     
  5. onlyclave

    onlyclave

    Oct 28, 2005
    Seattle
    What your post boils down to is "If it feels good, do it." and that is irresponsible advice.

    You don't understand the concept of clave and how many variations of it there are. Tapping his foot on anything other than the pulse is asking for trouble.
     
  6. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    Here's an excerpt of a Latin tune which I used to use as an exercise for foot tapping independence:

    Foottap.

    Needless to say, you first must master the line before adding your foot. Good luck! :)
     
  7. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    Either my post wasn't clear, or you misunderstood.
    None the less, that isn't what I intended to say.

    and who do you think you are to tell me that I don't know understand the Clave? Do you know me, OR my musical background?
     
  8. jefkritz

    jefkritz

    Oct 20, 2007
    iowa city, IA
    clearly he really knows and loves the clave way more than us. i mean, just check out his name...
     
  9. Joel S.

    Joel S. Reserved for future witty use...

    Jul 9, 2008
    Everywhere I've read re: latin grooves has suggested to learn to tap your foot on the clave. I can't do it without completely screwing up the bassline, but with practice it'll come.
     
  10. mutedeity

    mutedeity

    Aug 27, 2007
    Sydney
    I have to agree. Basic clavé concepts are one of the early rhythm concepts I teach my students. It's important to develop a good sense of where the beat is "internally" and tapping your foot with the clavé won't help you understand where the one is when you are managing playing the off beats.

    One way to understand how those off beats occur is to think of the bar as being divided up into a count of 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &. Take a 3-2 Rumba, for example, in the first bar the notes will be played on the 1, the & of 2 and the & of 4. In the second bar the notes will be played on the 2 and 3. As you tap your foot take note of which notes occur at the same time and which ones fall on the "&" between the beats. Make sure that you evenly space the off beat notes to occur between each of the beats.

    So a 3-2 Rumba, for example will be played like this, with the bold representing where the notes are played. With the red beats being where you tap your foot.

    |1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & | 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & |
     
  11. mutedeity

    mutedeity

    Aug 27, 2007
    Sydney
    I don't know why anyone would suggest that actually. The only time I ever alter the rhythm when I am tapping my foot is when I am tapping quarter notes and I have to play a bar of odd eighth notes. Other than that my foot is just tapping to keep a sense of constant time.
     
  12. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Personally I tap my foot on the quarter notes and vocalize the clave internally, i.e. making rhythmic breath or hum sounds that only I can hear. That's only if there's no other rhythm players keeping clave- if there are drummers etc. in clave then I can "feel" where they're at without having to vocalize.
     
  13. Joel S.

    Joel S. Reserved for future witty use...

    Jul 9, 2008
    They said to help you internalize the rhythm to make the grooves flow better. It's an awkward rhythm to try and tap while you're playing that for sure.
     
  14. mambo4

    mambo4

    Jun 9, 2006
    Dallas
    I played in a Salsa band for about five years (hence my user name) , I tapped my feet on 1 and 3, not the clave rhythm itself.

    the only people I ever saw tap the calve rhythm with their foot were conga players who had a clave pedal.

    I think It is more useful to feel the clave against a simple pulse, so you know clearly how it relates to the 1 (and the 4, and the "and-of-2"...)

    YMMV...
     
  15. Like all music...you just need to internalize it. If you are inside the groove and just dance to it carefree, then nothing else matters. The best way to learn it, is by looking at it from multiple different angles/perspectives. Once you mastered a groove, you are just listening and reacting, not worrying about your foot. If you do a latin gig and have to really on something other then your internal groove to get you through the gig, then you are still learning to play the groove. While learning the groove, try it both ways. It could only help you master it. It is essentially a dance step anyway, so if you are tapping the clave, you are tapping the rythmn that the dancers are feeling. Does your foot tap make you feel like a dancer? You think the latin dance hall is filled with people counting 1 2 3 4? On the other sideof things, if you are tapping your foot to the beat, then you can see how the groove is suppose to fit in the pocket. Dancers who are not familiar with this step, will learn to the step while counting in 4 until the internalize the Clave.
     
  16. This is the winner. The foot taps on 1 and 3 in every type of latin music I've ever come across. Once you have those two STRONG pulses to feel everything against, the clave starts to make a little more rhythmic sense. It takes some getting used to, because most rock/blues/jazz/etc players are used to tapping their feet on the quarter note beat. It took me a good while before I was really comfortable falling into a 1 and 3 foot pattern, but now it's automatic when I hear a latin beat.

    short version: tapping the foot on 1 and 3 is good, tapping the foot on the clave is a terrible idea and will get you laughed at (personal experience :crying: ).
     
  17. mutedeity

    mutedeity

    Aug 27, 2007
    Sydney
    It's awkward, but in the long run you are better off having a good internal sense of constant time than internalising every clave rhythm you come across. It is never advisable to take the easy way out either.
     
  18. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    I've seen a couple of "real" latin bassists tap the clave with their foot while playing the tumbao. The concept isn't far fetched it also isn't easy either unless of course you've fully internalized the clave.
     
  19. mutedeity

    mutedeity

    Aug 27, 2007
    Sydney
    Yes, but it doesn't really matter what "real" latin bass players do. What matters is developing a good sense of timing in general that allows you to deal with whatever rhythmic concept you have to play with.

    By the way, just for the record, clavé is not exclusive to "Latin" music. There are quite a number of African clavé styles and clavé can be adapted to many other contexts as well.
     

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