to Montunos: Extras
Here are a couple more piano montunos which contain some of the variations described in this section:
8.12 Montuno with reduced contratiempo
In the example above the last two notes of the 3-side have been shifted earlier; which has the effect of moving the couplet from spanning the boundary between one clave phrase and the next, to spanning the point of rhythmic tension. It has also caused more emphasis to be placed on the ponché.
This is one of
my favourite alternatives which I use when I feel a balanced (contratiempo
vs. non-contratiempo) montuno is required. It coincidentally
reflects the 'traditional' son footwork pattern (see later).
arpeggiation, if defined this way, does not occur in all instances in
the playing of montunos. What happens is more like broken chords:
single notes of a chord played not necessarily in sequence. However
the term 'arpeggiation' has been applied to montuno playing before,
so I have chosen to do the same.]
8.13 Montuno arpeggiation examples
The run of single notes is represented in examples 1 to 3, above, as two smaller asterisks (denoting the beginning and end of the run rhythm) joined by a phrase mark. You may have already picked up on the arpeggiation phenomenon over the course of the listening and tapping practices with some of the tracks provided.
It is an adornment commonly employed by pianists, who must remain mindful that the more arpeggiation is used, the more it dissipates the clave feel of the montuno. This is clear in Example 3, where the arpeggiation rhythm runs through the spaces necessarily left void (beats 5 and 8) for the creation of the contratiempo feel on the 3-side.
If we were to
take this to an extreme and arpeggiate everything, we would end up with
an even patter of notes with no spaces and no clave feel at all!
8.14 Montuno ponché run
The diagram is "unrectified" to illustrate how the run links the ponché to the next phrase (in 2-3 son clave) and reinforces the conga open tone cue. In melodic terms, the three-note run often melodically comprises simply the root note or a chromatic run ending on the root note.
This is a melodic
as well as a rhythmic motif leading into a resolution at the
opening of the 2-side; whose end coincides with the beginning of the
dance step rhythm; which contributes to the feel of rhythmic stability
of the 2-side; and thus makes the phrasing more apparent to the dancer.
through extensive field research elucidates the missing link
between our modern-day montuno pattern and the mambo/modern son
dance rhythm (the latter from which our salsa dance rhythm is arguably
derived). That missing link is the little known, and not often seen
son montuno dance rhythm as detailed below.
8.15 Montuno correlated with son montuno dance rhythm
There is as yet no indication that the asymmetric son montuno form was more prevalent, nor more true to the son's evolutionary ancestors. It is important to understand that the son montuno is different from 'modern' son as is commonly danced today.
What this dance form does indicate, is the significance of the last beat of the 2-side (beat 4+) and the bombó (middle beat of the clave 3-side) which are both emphasised in the montuno rhythm; features that would not be obvious if one were to juxtapose the montuno and the salsa or mambo/modern son dance rhythm.
The montuno rhythm had already achieved its contratiempo form by 1943; popularised by the great Cuban bandleaders Antonio Arcaño and Arsenio Rodríguez, who referred to the feel and effect of the rhythm as the 'mambo flavour'. This mambo flavour was deployed in their renditions of the son montuno.
The word 'mambo',
as used to describe the international music and dance phenomenon, would
only begin to enter mainstream media five years later.
©1999 Salsa & Merengue Society