to Bass Tumbaos: Extras
The comparison between the tresillo pattern and the cumbia pattern below perfectly captures the essential differences.
"Cumbia" itself is a non-AfroCuban music and dance
genre. I am using the term to describe its typical bass rhythm, which
is also expressed in Cuban music.
7.9. Tresillo versus cumbia bass tumbao
In the tresillo bass tumbao, the bombó, which accents the upbeat prior to the pulse, creates rhythmic anticipation in every bar. Black dancers through their AfroCuban traditions, had the body isolation skills and the polyrhythmic dance ability to express both the bombó and pulse beat, the lower tempi making this synchopation clearer (see son phrasing and zarabanda tutorials in Rhythm Sense). Typical examples include the music of Cachao's descarga sessions, and that of Arsenio Rodríguez.
With the cumbia-style tumbao, the bass does not generate rhythmic tension. Instead there is a cluster of three evenly-spaced beats spanning two bars of music, with emphasis on the third beat (i.e. the first beat of the new bar). This tumbao can be found in the music of La Sonora Matancera who played guarachas for a predominantly white audience, and in the romantic ballad genre of the Cuban bolero.
in addition to the core material, you would enhance your ability to
dance to Latin music if you learned to synchronise your dance rhythm
to the cumbia-style tumbao. This would give you access
to 'white music' like the boleros of the Puerto Rican Daniel
Santos, the Colombian cumbia and Cuban guarachas interpreted
in the fashion of La Sonora Matancera.
By The Upbeat
7.10. Tumbao variations in son montuno
It is not necessary
to clap or mentally play these variations whilst dancing the step rhythm
(although that would be ideal). At the very least, you should be able
to distinguish the cumbia-style tumbao from the blackened
ones, and know why they're played the way they are.
©1999 Salsa & Merengue Society