Hearing the first bar of that rhythmic, sexy, sultry Salsa song inspires throngs of normally sober and calm non-Latinos to get up on the dance floor and shake their hips to the beat of the drums.
Salsa music is characterized by the heavy use of percussion instruments such as claves, maracas, congas, bongos, tambourines, cowbells and many others. These instruments are played to mimic the calls and response patterns of traditional African music before segueing into the chorus. Other instruments used to create the incredibly intoxicating rhythm are vibraphone, accordion, marimba, piano, bass, guitar, violin, flute as well as brass instruments such as trombone, trumpet, and saxophone.
Salsa music has a basic 1-2-3-1-2 rhythm. The tempo is fast, the energy is flamboyant, and the types are numerous.
Types of Salsa Music
1. Salsa Classica
The classic salsa was the original salsa music style. Salsa classica features the whole nine yards: brass-heavy melodies, perfusing percussion, and powerful vocals. Because it has jazz roots, a part of each song is usually improvised. Salsa classica lyrics often depict politics, religion, identity, and nationalism. This style is what newer salsa artists and bands often aspire to become and are compared to.
2 Salsa Dura
Salsa Dura means hard salsa and is also called Salsa Gorda or fat salsa. This type of salsa music originated from the 70s and is characterized by strong percussions over vocals. The basic traits of Salsa Dura include driving rhythms and socially conscious lyrics. This type of salsa music keeps going and going with blaring brass, thumping beats, and is the most ideal for some sultry salsa dancing. Colombia is the regarded the Salsa Dura capital of the world with its abundance of world-class Salsa Dura bands.
During the 80’s when the classic salsa music’s popularity began its decline, a new softer and more accessible style called Salsa Romantica or soft salsa became the trend. This more commercial type of Salsa music drew influencers from ballads. Out came the musical improvisation of the classic salsa and in came the slowed down sexy smooth rhythms. The socially-conscious lyrics were replaced by love songs.
Now that you know the types of Salsa music, are you ready to start dancing?
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