The clave and funk music question

Adcc

Junior Member
Hi guys,

I've read many times for the connection of the clave with funk music but i never undersood the relation between them. I am studing a lot of latin music for more than one year, now i'm currently working on Horacio's - CIC book, but i haven't study a lot of funk music till now, and i am thinkin that if funk is related to latin i should study some. Though I've listened to a lot o funky songs and bands before (James Brown, the Meters, Galactic, Tower of Power, P-Funk etc) i can't recognize any latin or clave in them. Can anyone tell me the relation between the clave/latin music with funk???

Thanks a lot
 

moontheloon

Silver Member
go to your kit and play a funk pattern

maybe 1 . . A . . . . 3 . + . . . . . on the kick

and 2 and 4 on the snare .....while playing 2-3 clave on the ride bell and I think you will clearly see a sweet relationship
 
V

vorsybl

Guest
The clave and its various forms are found in a lot of music if you listen closely

Check out Ignacio "el negro" hernandez, he has some great lessons on its application
 

John Lamb

Senior Member
there is no direct relationship between the Cuban son or rhumba clave and funk.

However, there are plenty of analogs. Check out Gogo music from Washington DC, for example. Its got interlocking parts and multiple drummers, very much the the approach of Afro-Cuban style, but does not bear a direct relationship to the son or rhumba clave. It is the generalized approach that is similar.

But, if you simply look at the generalized approach, most things are similar. The concept is that you have a short rhythmical phrase that acts as the backbone for the rhythmic and melodic phrasing of the song. This phrase is called the 'clave' in Cuban music because it's played with the claves.

BTW.... for the sake of clarity, the pulse is the ground in this example!... you could also say the pulse is the backbone and the clave is the general shape of the body - arms legs, torso head... I actually like that one better, but its harder to get the idea across, IMO.

Funk music functions the same way, but without the relying on 2 specific sets of rhythms. Its a lot less organized, as a genre. There are many examples of stuff that fits in very closely to the son/rhumba claves (i.e. Chameleon/Headhunters) but it does not follow the rules or sensibility of Cuban music.

You might want to look into Indian music. They also have the same concept, and they call it the 'Tala'. A 'Raga' is a short musical phrase that fits over a short rhythmical phrase (tala). It's same same but different, as they say.
 

JohnW

Silver Member
Just a nit picky thing about Indian music: you're right about the tala and in general "it's the same but different". And you're right that most things are similar...

But a raga (melody) is usually played in free rhythm without accompaniment before the drums (usually tabla in North Indian) enter. This can last anywhere from a few seconds to minutes to an hour plus! And when the drums enter they can fit in a phrase within the tala or stretch over a number of cycles. And some talas are quite slow (vilambit)

Here's 12 beat cycle (ektal) played in the slow, vilambit style. you could almost look at it as 48 beats because it is so slow: 1 ta and ta 2 ta and ta, etc., through the 12th beat and all the way to 1:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XKmihcFfWY

Notice that he says "SAM" (pronounced 'sum') at the beginning of each cycle. At around 0:06, 0:39, 1:13 and 1:46 you hear it.

It's so slow it takes about 33 seconds for each cycle to finish.

Anyway, sorry to ramble or sound pedantic, and hope I didn't hijack the thread too much.

-John
 
V

vorsybl

Guest
go to your kit and play a funk pattern

maybe 1 . . A . . . . 3 . + . . . . . on the kick

and 2 and 4 on the snare .....while playing 2-3 clave on the ride bell and I think you will clearly see a sweet relationship
Too easy of a kick pattern! lol jk.

Don't stop there. you can make it sound cooler if you play the clave on the bell and fill in the spaces with regular ride cymbal. Creates that texture
 
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