...History/origins of the spangalang

Kenneth Nishimoto

Senior Member
Hey folks. Havent posted here in a while but I just reckoned you'd be able to help me with this question that's been nibbling at my brain for the past couple days :)

What I want to know is the origin of the spangalang(jazz ride) figure as a rhythmic cliche. Now I understand to a point the african origins of jazz's triplet beat but the origins of the spang-spang a lang spang a lang etc... figure has never really been explained to my contentment to be honest.

While were at it: the clave. Where did it come from? Now we all know that latin music on the whole depends on the tripelated 1 2 or 3 4 but the ba dap ba dap dap rhythm is similar in it's mysterious ubiquity. Did aliens transplant these rhythms here, were they invented or do they just sound neat?



Platinum Member
Others will be able to explain this better than I:

The clave comes from Africa where it is the basis of sub-saharan music. It is actually more readily conceived in the western 6/8 and cannot be fully understood in measured time.

The jazz ride pattern was popularized with be bop in the early 1940s probably because you needed a cleaner, more dependable ride pattern at a faster tempo.

Michael G

Silver Member
My guess is the rhythm came from washboard players, and slowly works its way in during the 30s and its eventually set in stone by the 40s as the main time keeping method.

From what I heard from one drummer, Zutty Singleton can be heard doing the ride pattern in a recording some where in the late 1920s. Whether that's true or not I don't know for sure.