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Salsa: Ear Training

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Son Clave & the Clave Rhythm Stream: Introduction

This is our first tutorial on clave, and we'll be addressing the historically most common form outside of Cuba: the son clave, originating from the east of the island. The word "clave" refers to the fundamental rhythm which unites all musicians playing salsa music, and also to the instrument on which the rhythm is interpreted: a pair of turned hardwood rods, one in each hand, which are struck together to produce a high-pitched 'click' sound.

For many of you, clave will be quite different from anything you've experienced before - and that's exciting. Our learning material will match your ambition, effort for effort. You will learn how to recognise it, be comfortable with it, and understand some of its key features and special properties. Ultimately, you'll learn how clave can inform your dancing and in so doing, appreciate and enjoy more the depth of Afro-Cuban music.



I am learning salsa in Nigeria from a great teacher called Buddy Agedah. I recently discovered your website and have found it to be especially helpful in filling in the gaps of the history of salsa and the basic ear training. Both of these have given me a more in depth understanding of salsa. In particular, I have heard people talk about the clave beat and not understood what that means. Reviewing the basic salsa steps also gives me confidence that we are on the right track here.

You may be interested to hear that salsa is alive and well in Lagos!




1999 Salsa & Merengue Society