Son Rhythms

Available on the App Store

Included rhythms in Afro Latin Drum Machine, for iOS


Vocal genre, danceable instrumental, which constitutes one of the basic forms within Cuban music. It presents, in its structure, elements from African (Bantu) and Spanish music, but already fused into Cuban music, where rhythmic turns, choruses, percussive modes, intonations and sounds of the pulsed strings that denounce its two original sources converge. It is danced by a bonded couple, and a wide range of instruments is used to produce its music, ranging from a simple tres O guitar, sometimes accompanied by maritime, güiro and bongo, to larger and more complex groups.

Odilio Urfé points to the son as:"the most syncretic sonorous exponent of Cuban cultural identity, its verified existence began concretely at the end of the 19th century, in a multiple zone location that includes the mountainous suburbs of some eastern cities, as Guantánamo (with the Changüí), Baracoa (place where, according to Sindo Garay, the Cuban tres originated), Manzanillo (with its organ base) and Santiago de Cuba with its folkloric neighborhoods of suburban locations.

Because of its extraction, development, sound and choreographic characteristics and social use, the Cuban son historically became the most suitable and representative means of expression for the humble layers of the socio-economic and political structure of post-war Cuba.

Nené Manfugás was a black tresero of Haitian origin who brought the first sounds to the carnivals of Santiago de Cuba in 1892. It should be noted that he carried his music with him on an instrument originally made of strings, whose tradition is Spanish. In the middle of the 13th century there was a great exodus of Haitians to eastern Cuba, especially to Guantánamo and Santiago de Cuba where some 500,000 arrived. Most went to work in the mountains of the Sierra Maestra in the coffee plantations of their French masters. In the following decades, Haitian religious music was Cubanized. Haitian music is not entirely African, as the Haitians arrived in Cuba with their French masters and the music the Haitian made was a mixture of French contradiction with African and Spanish influences. Many of the Haitian slaves, brought to eastern Cuba by their masters, are owed the enrichment and transformation of the culture and economy that originated in this region at that time. Some authors argue that it is not possible to talk about Cuba, especially in Guantánamo, Santiago de Cuba, Camagüey and Ciego de Ávila, without taking into account the Haitian footprint. The coffee plantation system that coincided with the Haitian emigration became very strong in the eastern territory of the island of Cuba and brought with it, in a very particular way, the dance tradition known as the French Tomb, currently in force through three societies: the Charidad de Oriente, in Santiago de Cuba; the Pompadour, in Guantánamo; and the Bejuco, in Sagua de Tánamo. The connoisseurs assure that the antecedents of the Cuban rumba and guaguancó are precisely in the French Tomb and the Son coming from the Changui.

The Cuban son complex triumphantly passed through the Caribbean, Latin America, North America, Europe and other areas of the world.

Son moved from the East to Havana in 1909, taken to the capital by the soldiers of the Permanent Army, in a process of transculturation that determined the entry into the eastern region of the rumba. The incorporation of the genre to the dance orchestras, when José Urfé composed, in 1910, his danzón El bombín de Barreto, adding a son motif to its final part, and the emergence of the legendary Sexteto Habanero, in 1920 and later Septeto Nacional, gave a huge boost to the Cuban son. Initially danced in accessories, plots and dance academies by popular layers -the bourgeois strata rejected it and the government even banned it as immoral- the dance halls of Havana, and of the important cities, had to open their doors to it, and the record printers gave it an unlimited diffusion. Classical authors of the genre such as Bienvenido Julián Gutiérrez, Ignacio Piñeiro and Arsenio Rodríguez, and performers such as trumpet player Félix Chapottín and the brilliant singer Benny Moré, are key figures in a progressive development that encompassed almost all the Cuban musical strata and influenced -influenced- the production of various parts of the world.

Emilio Grenet wrote of the structure of the son: "It consists of the repetition of a chorus of no more than four bars originally called montuno, which is sung in chorus, and a motif of contrast for a solo voice that did not usually exceed eight.

Initially the son groups were formed by guitar, three bongo, botija or marmbula (then counter-bass), claves and maracas; then one or more trumpets were added. Currently the format for interpreting the genre is unlimited. The son has known numerous variants, some with almost independent personality. Urfé mentions son montuno, changüí, sucu-sucu, flongo, la regina, son de los permanentes, Ia bachata oriental, son habanero, la guajira son, la guaracha son, el bolero son, el pregón son, el afro son, el son guaguancé, el mambo y el cha-cha-chá. The Cuban son is usually located within the sonero complex of the Caribbean Sea area. In their analysis of essential aspects of the genre, Rosendo Ruiz, son, and Vicente González Rubiera, Guyún, tell us: "One of the fundamental characteristics that define the character of Cuban son is the singular distribution of the different strips or timbre lines that make up its percussion and rhythmic-harmonic complex, determining an unparalleled polyrhythm in the instrumental ensemble. By examining old sounds musically written and based on the auditory experience, it can be affirmed that the son (already in its classical, evolved form, as interpreted by the sextets and septets of the capital city of Havana in the 1920s) presents three bands clearly defined by their percussive timbre and characteristic rhythmic-harmonic design (the double bass played in pizzicato and the guitar with its typical striped-ras-rogueado semipercutido are not, of course, percussion instruments, but they are added to the percussion complex based on the way the sonero plays them). By means of a constant design in charge of the double bass executed in pizzicato the rhythmic-harmonic base of the son is fixed. It constitutes the so-called anticipated bass (syncopated) and summarizes the rhythmic and expressive essence of the primitive are oriental expressed in the oriental bungas, small groups of are integrated by a three, guitar and singers. While the tres plucks his motifs, the guitar holds an invariable accompanying pattern in a stripe (semi-percussion strumming) that in 2/4 time corresponds in musical values to two groups of four sixteenths. The attack of this striping leads to a singular displacement of accents that only those who know the genre in depth can master. The maracas and the bongo rhythmically double in identical figuration to the guitar. The rhythmic module of the clave features a two-pass design. In 2/4 time signatures, the first (strong) bar is occupied by the so-called "Cuban triplet", while the second (weak) bar is integrated in quaver-quaver-quaver-quaver-quaver-silence silence.

In short, it can be said that the instrumental complex of the son (sextet or septet) shows a constant and contrasting juxtaposition of three independent rhythmic bands in dynamic projection. The first line (syncopated) is represented in the anticipated bass. The second one is made up of the accompanying guitar, the maracas and the bongo (the latter in the first part of the son, since in the chorus the bongo abandons its constant rhythm - hammer - and moves in free rhythmic variations and improvisations). Both strips are conditioned and subjected to the two-passed metric module of the clave ( key).

The presence of this Cuban genre is important - and growing - on a universal scale, within the most authentic and valuable musical expressions today.

Son 2-3

First sample of rhythm - 2-3 (1) - with standard set of instruments composed of Maracas, Claves, Campana Grande, Quinto and Conga grave. Rhythms 2-3 are based on Clave 2 - 3, which indicates that the first half of the pattern contains 2 notes and the second half of the pattern contains 3 notes.
Clave Son 2 3
In the second rhythm - 2-3 (2) - we change the claves for the timbal by playing the pattern of 2-3 cascara.
Clave Son 2 3

Son 3-2

First sample of rhythm - They are 3-2 (1) - with standard instrument set applying the key 3 - 2. The 3 - 2 rhythms are based on Key 3 - 2, which indicates that the first half of the pattern contains 2 notes and the second half of the pattern contains 3 notes.
Clave Son 3 2

In the second rhythm - It's 3-2 (2) - we change the claves for the timbal by playing the cáscara pattern 3-2
Clave Son 3 2

Son Montuno 2-3

When the son arrived in Havana and other surrounding provinces like Matanzas, it was enriched by the work of the sextets and septets, by musicians and also by the poor people who lived on the land. Another very important element in the development of son was the appearance of record companies. Arsenio Rodríguez developed the language of son montuno and this determined that it was accepted as a rhythm with its own personality, separated from son. In the son montuno the repetition of the choir and the intensity of the performance determine this difference. The improvisation of the solo musicians also plays an important role in the son montuno. Arsenio was a virtuoso performer of his instrument. In Afro Latin Drum Machine for iOS we can find up to 5 variations of Son Montuno with clave 2 - 3

Son Montuno 3-2

Over time the son montuno developed a "moment" of the song that Arsenio called "devil". The devil within the song becomes like an explosion, like another intense part. The band stands out by making improvisations and turning the "devil" into the high point of the musical theme, something analogous to the collective improvisations of the dixieland. The son montuno and especially the "devil" are characterized by their complexity and originality. These Cuban elements would later influence other rhythms outside Cuba such as jazz. In Afro Latin Drum Machine we can find up to 5 variations of Son Montuno with key 3 - 2

Son Kick 2-3

The so-called Salsa was not built solely on Cuban rhythms. The North American musicians contributed the jazz-like progressions that were taking place parallel to the Mambo and other rhythms that defined this danceable musical style. In this fusion, new percussion instruments such as the bass drum are brought in. In Afro Latin Drum Mahcine we have 4 variations of Son 2-3 with drum.

Son Kick 3-2

In this section we have 4 variations of the Son 3 - 2 with hype