Salsa > How popular is "on 2" in your town?

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by DanceMentor, Aug 25, 2004.

  1. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    I think that is what saludas meant and I, who don't really have the musical know how to express it... But we do mean 8 counts over two bars. We count it as we would dance to it, 1,2,3,4 5,6,7,8 so we say 4/4 timing.

    But I would be very interested in hearing what 6/8 timing means, meaning more than six coutns to eight beats, cause i'm lost. :roll:
  2. saludas

    saludas New Member

    what it means is that there are 6 counts to eight beats. Counting to 4 or 8 along with music does not make it 4/4 - that is the LAST 4 of the 4/4. the FIRST 4 is the beats per MEASURE of music.

    Latin music does contain 'polyrhythms' - these are counter- or syncopated- rhythms over the original 'feel'. in other words, when you listen to Latin music, you hear not only the 'downbeat' (the fisrt beat) but you also hear the accents and the other rhythms that seem to occur weaving in and out.

    New listeners to Latin sem to only hear it in relation to what they already know (duh) which is the common US dnace rhythm (disco or hip hop) of 4/4. That's not a negative - you can only hear what you hear based upon what you've heard in the past. As you get more 'into' it, you'll hear some clues as to what other rhythms are in the music. Clave, for instance, is a 3/2 rhythm superimposed over the 6/8 feel. The bass line in Latin music is CLAVE. you'll hear it NOT play on 1, but start on 2. This is what more 'experienced' dancers listen to to get the 'feel' (as they do in all other dances)... but it doesn't mean you don't move on 1!! It just means that a figure dances differently on the bass part, as compared to the downbeat.

    Remember, beginners are happy just to move to what they know - the more advanced you get the more you incorporate your knowledge and 'ears' into your movement. "on One' and "on Two' means NOTHING if all you're doing is doing a figure independent of the music. As your 'ears' open up to the music, you'll find figures that are on the 3, 4, etc.
  3. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    Ok, let me see if I can bring this down to something I can make sense of... Is it that when salsa music is written there aren't 4 beats to a bar of 4 for a given instrument? So if I was to read a bar of 4, I would only see 3 beats played on for any one single instrument, percussion not included?

    But when we hear the overall union of all isntruments they can use all 1,2,3,4 because of the different instruments and beats played on. So how accuarate would it be for me to say that salsa does feel like a 3 on top of 4? 4 because that is the measures to a bar, and 3 because that is how it feels? I hope I got closer now...

    Thank you for the explanation...

    would a 3/4 make it a waltz? :rocker:
  4. saludas

    saludas New Member

    in order of question:

    No, there are 6 beats over TWO bars of music. The time signature of a piece of music denotes beats/bars. For instance, foxtrot is in 2/4.
    It is somewhat more real to say 3 on 4, than 4 on 4. You have to free yourself of the concept that one bar of music equals one measure....

    In actuality, Latin players look at 12 bar "phrases' to make the music. In other words, over 12 bars, the piano player will play the music as if it was one pattern, then repeat it in another 12 bars. Compared to hip hop (a very simply musical form) where one bar of music is one pattern.
  5. mexi_gabacho

    mexi_gabacho New Member


    The time signature is music does not denote the number of bars. The time signature in music denotes a) the number of beats in a measure.... b) the TYPE of note that receives a single beat. In the pure musical time-signature sense, Salsa is 4/4 ... 4 beats to each measure and a quarter-note (4) gets a single beat. The number of bars used in the PHRASING of the music has nothing to do with the time signature.

    Now, when talking about musical PHRASING, which is what I THINK you are referring to, it is best to not use terms like 6/8 and such.

    I think what you are trying to say is that the PHRASING in salsa is (in general) 8 beats long, 6 of which are used for counting out dance steps or contain the major musical phrasing points??

    You have me confused in your choice of terminology, I guess.

    I think you are talking specifically about the musical phrasing, which is (IN GENERAL, not always) 12 measures long?
  6. Tasek

    Tasek New Member

    There seems to be some confusion about time signatures of salsa music, a while back there was a good thread with some info on the matter.
    Percussion Instruments in Salsa Music bottom of the first page and further along there is some information about the timing of the music.
  7. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    Thank you so much for bring this one up, now I'm back to bearings. :D

    I got so confused for a sec, I was talking over lunch to my musican coworker and he was explaining it to me, and where the confusion was comming from, but that all the salsa he's ever heard has all been in 4/4...

    I've always wanted to hear salsa like a musician would, just to learn what the difference is between what they and I hear....
  8. youngsta

    youngsta Active Member

    Most salsa music is 4/4 timing period. The eight counts is a dancers measure, two four counts back to back.
  9. KiwiMambo

    KiwiMambo New Member

    I live in San Diego, so I can answer this. There are 7 dance/performance teams in San Diego. 5 of these dance on2 so there is a heavy on2 influence in San Diego. More so than LA. If you want to learn to dance on2, you have to join a team or take private lessons. Up until last week there were no on2 group classes open to non dance team members. David Stein started one this Monday. If you go to Chuey's on Friday, about 40% are on2 dancers. This is because many of the dance team members show up there that night. Other clubs such as the Marriot, Cafe Sevilla and the Bellyup are predominately on1, there is only ever a small group of on2 dancers in a given night. on2 is getting more popular on the west coast. LA now have NY instructors Seaon and Bernard & Sonyo Martinez teaching and spreading on2.
  10. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Yes, to follow up on what KM says, there is, indeed, a heavy on2 presence in SD due, as he says, to the performance teams in town. The vast majority of people here in town, however, are very much on1 dancers.
  11. rails

    rails New Member

    Agreed. As I learned it, a 4/4 time signature means 4 quarter notes to a measure. A 6/8 time signature would mean 6 eighth notes to a measure, not 6 counts to 8 beats.

    Sure, we dancers normally step on 6 of the 8 counts of two measures, but that doesn't make the music 6/8. We take the 4/4 measures two at a time and hold on the last beat of each measure.

    I'm reading here that there are others ways to time your footwork, but I think the paragraph above covers most salsa dancers, doesn't it?
  12. Vin

    Vin New Member

    Thought this would be an interesting thread to ressurect. Wonder how TJ's view of the DC scene has changed and how it differs with mine.

    My impression: The majority of the people in the club at any given time are dancing on1 or trying to. Among the more serious dance crowd it's seems to me to be about a 60-40 split with more on2 dancers but with a few exceptions most can, or attempt to do both. Most of the on2 dancers are in a performance group but there are quite a few that learn from group classes, privates, or on the "street".
    Among the on2 crowd there are mostly ET style dancers but there is a significant number of Puerto Rican style on2 dancers.
    The conception around here is that PR style is the same as ET style just the timing is reversed, ie: lead steps forward on2, is this correct?
  13. tj

    tj New Member

    Lol - I've been "called out". <waves at Vin>

    Well, it depends on the club of course (at Yuca the other day, the beginners were attempting ETOn2 because that was what the instructor was teaching), but in general, yes, I find this to be true.

    Yes, and I think those "few exceptions" that you're mentioning - two of them were trying to become more On2 proficient which may explain their reluctance to go back and dance On1 with me.

    I thought the pause was different, too, no?
  14. Vin

    Vin New Member

    I know in what is called power2 the pause is different but in what they call Puerto Rican 2 it is the same pause as ETon2
  15. tj

    tj New Member

    Ah, ok. I always thought Puerto Rican 2 = Power2, but I will defer to you, Vin.
  16. Vin

    Vin New Member

    Oh no please don't differ to me on this, I am wondering the same thing you are but I didn't want to steer the answers I got.
  17. tj

    tj New Member

    We're not talking about those folks who lack rhythm and timing of any sort, are we? :wink: :roll:
  18. Vin

    Vin New Member

    Oh no, high to mid-level maf
  19. tj

    tj New Member

    Ok, I found something. Taken from another forum:

    So there's how some folks are defining it at least.
  20. Vin

    Vin New Member


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