Afro-Cuban 9/8 ?

Geoff J

Member
Last edited:

Garvin

Pioneer Member
Nope. No no no no... 6/8 or 12/8 only...

There is no 9/8 rhythm that can legitimately be referred to as true "Afro-Cuban" (that I'm aware of)

I would have an awful lot of questions for anyone claiming otherwise.
 

Geoff J

Member
Yup, sounded awfully weird to me, also

There are african 9/8 beats, right ?
 

Joe P

Senior Member
I agree with Garvin, but perhaps it would be an afro-cuban-type rhythm that had a "3" feel, subdivided into triplets?

for example:

1--2--3--
x-x-xx-x-
---s---tt
b-----b--

x=ride bell
s=snare
t=tom
b=bass
 

zambizzi

Platinum Member
Nope. No no no no... 6/8 or 12/8 only...

There is no 9/8 rhythm that can legitimately be referred to as true "Afro-Cuban" (that I'm aware of)

I would have an awful lot of questions for anyone claiming otherwise.

You couldn't subdivide it to make it as such...sort of like the way you see guys playing a clave in 5 on the kit? Or, would doing so make it something other than the common Afro-Cuban 6/8 rhythm? What if it stuck to a similar sound and ride/bell pattern?

It seems like you could do something like this by doing something as simple as adding 3 notes to the phrase.
 

Garvin

Pioneer Member
Yup, sounded awfully weird to me, also

There are african 9/8 beats, right ?

That's a can of worms... The only rhythm that I've learned, or heard in about 10 years of study of West African music that wasn't in something resembling 4/4 or 6/8 is called Koredjuga from Guinea... I'm sure there are more odd time things in the North African countries like Mauritania, Egypt etc... As a function of the muslim influence on North African countries (as well as West and Central Africa).

There are over 50 countries in Africa (depending on whose map and when you look). Huge countries with very specific cultures and musical styles. Genres within genres within genres and very specific instruments. I've only scratched the surface in 10 years of study of the music of Guinea, Mali, Ghana and Senegal. So, yes I'm sure there are other rhythms which are in this time signature, but it is not common to West African or Afro-Cuban rhythmic traditions that I'm aware of.
 

rob85

Junior Member
For Afro-Cuban:

Odd Meter Clave Book - Conor Guilfoyle
"If you’re serious about expanding or combining your Cuban and odd meter vocabulary (non-drummers as well), then this wonderful book will deliver countless hours of useful study"
MODERN DRUMMER MAGAZINE-NOV 2007

As for west african, when it comes to rhythm you can be sure they've tried it all. I'm not sure if theres any in 9, ut have a look here and you should find out. www.paulnas.eu/wap/
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
Nope. No no no no... 6/8 or 12/8 only...

There is no 9/8 rhythm that can legitimately be referred to as true "Afro-Cuban" (that I'm aware of)

I would have an awful lot of questions for anyone claiming otherwise.

I've never heard of anything in 9 in Afro Cuban. However, you could play just about any meter and add elements of Afro Cuban rhythmic style, modified clave, etc. It wouldn't be traditional or "authentic", but then again, the Western trap set, electric guitar or erhu aren't traditional Afro Cuban instruments, but I've heard them all do it very well. Before Europeans brought Yoruban slaves to Cuba, there was no such thing as Afro Cuban anything; people change and add to music all the time.
 

Tom C.

Junior Member
I see this is an old thread, but an interesting topic! I've been working on some ideas with odd time clave patterns recently and it seems like there's different ways to approach it but basically you are breaking the measure (or two measures) down into the 3 side and the 2 side of the clave. If the time signature is an odd number it can get a bit tricky, because you either have to group a polyrhythm in a different time matrix, or separate the 2 and 3 sides of the clave into uneven lengths. The latter seems to be the way most people play odd time clave rhythms, but it's really hard to find many examples. I found a video of a guy playing a kind of modified clave with only 4 notes, so both sides are two but one is 4 beats and the other is 5:
Not a true clave but still a really interesting rhythm. And he does some awesome stuff with it. Mind blowing.

I've been structuring a different kind of 9/8 clave by breaking down the measure into 3 and 6. The 3 beat part contains the 2 side, and the 6 beat part contains the 3 side:

(-)=rest
(+)=note

-++-+-+-+

so it fits into 9 beats and you get a 2 side and a 3. Then you have to add further subdivisions if you want bell patterns and such.
 

bongoman

Junior Member
Since one “key” element of clave is the tension between the polyrhythmic half and the um monorhythmic half, it seems like you could break any weird time signature into those two repeating components, to retain the sense of it. With 9, you could eg play 4 beats in sync and then 4 against 5, or 3 beats in sync and then 4 or 8 against 6, etc.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
I've written several pages of stuff exploring this type of groove-- all it means is we're adapting a common groove to play it in 3. 9/8 = compound 3. I've also written a version of it in 5-- 15/8. Both common meters for North American jazz musicians. As far as I know there's no precedent for it in folkloric music, but there doesn't need to be. This is a different thing for different, non-clave based music. And it helps us play better in 3 or 5 generally.
 

Tom C.

Junior Member
Since one “key” element of clave is the tension between the polyrhythmic half and the um monorhythmic half, it seems like you could break any weird time signature into those two repeating components... With 9, you could eg play 4 beats in sync and then 4 against 5, or 3 beats in sync and then 4 or 8 against 6, etc.
key! Interesting way of thinking about it. So you are saying that you split the time signature into 2 parts and then have one with a polyrhythm and the other in the native time signature? So you don't even need it to be 2 parts against 3 parts - it could be any numbers... A pseudo-clave I suppose. Seems like it could bring up some interesting ideas and also be a good exercise in blending polyrhythms.
 

Tom C.

Junior Member
I've written several pages of stuff exploring this type of groove-- all it means is we're adapting a common groove to play it in 3. 9/8 = compound 3. I've also written a version of it in 5-- 15/8. Both common meters for North American jazz musicians. As far as I know there's no precedent for it in folkloric music, but there doesn't need to be. This is a different thing for different, non-clave based music. And it helps us play better in 3 or 5 generally.
Thanks for your reply. I checked out your page and found it to be a jackpot of material along these lines. Also enjoy the discussions, particularly about compound meters and time signatures. Seems like these kinds of rhythms have the potential to really unlock the workings of the roll of drums in music. The first time I learned an 'afrocuban 6/8 groove' I started hearing how it could be applied to so many other modes.

So in jazz 4/4 is really a 12/8, and 5 is 15, and so on? What about Quintuplet based compound meters? It seems to me that 15/8 could also be thought of as 3 groups of 5 rather than 5 groups of 3. And that kind of idea seems to be reflected in your 9/8 groove page.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
So in jazz 4/4 is really a 12/8, and 5 is 15, and so on? What about Quintuplet based compound meters? It seems to me that 15/8 could also be thought of as 3 groups of 5 rather than 5 groups of 3. And that kind of idea seems to be reflected in your 9/8 groove page.
Jazz is ordinarily written and played in 4/4, with the players giving it a swing interpretation-- the interpretation is usually only written out as triplets or sometimes 12/8 when writing drum patterns. The triplets or compound 8ths are incidental-- they just happen to line up with the swing interpretation sometimes-- the music is natively in 4/4, with quarter notes and 8th notes as the major note values.

I'm not sure a five note subdivision would be called a compound pulse, a theory person might have an answer for that. Normally a 5/8 measure or grouping would be broken down further into 2+3 or 3+2-- a combination of simple (two notes) and compound (three notes) subdivisions.
 

Alain Rieder

Silver Member
I found a video of a guy playing a kind of modified clave with only 4 notes, so both sides are two but one is 4 beats and the other is 5: Not a true clave but still a really interesting rhythm. And he does some awesome stuff with it. Mind blowing.
Maybe there is something I didn't get, but it sounds like he just plays some random stuff over this so called 9/8 pattern.
 

Tom C.

Junior Member
Maybe there is something I didn't get, but it sounds like he just plays some random stuff over this so called 9/8 pattern.
Listen to the part he plays on the cowbell with his foot. That's the rhythm that he's improvising over. I certainly wouldn't call his improvisation 'random stuff', but I don't think you meant it that way. It's not really a clave because it's only 4 notes but it still functions under the beat in a similar way. The way those 4 notes fit within the 9/8 pattern creates a tension and release every measure.
 
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