Starting the marcha with an open tone

A place where discuss about secrets, tips and suggestions for practicing on congas and to improve your skill and technique ...

Starting the marcha with an open tone

Postby Siete Leguas » Sat Feb 20, 2021 12:25 pm

I've had some teachers (in virtual and real life) who said that the first note of the first bar of the Son marcha should be open instead of the regular bass. However, some of them only say so in case of starting on the 3-side, and sometimes they do it on the hembra.

Do you guys always play that first stroke open (at the very beginning and after every break), regardless of the clave direction, or only in 3-2 - or not at all? On the macho or on the hembra?
User avatar
Siete Leguas
 
Posts: 172
Joined: Sun May 17, 2020 4:34 pm
Location: Alemania

Re: Starting the marcha with an open tone

Postby Chtimulato » Sat Feb 20, 2021 12:58 pm

Hello.
I often do it, and on both sides of the clave. And do the same on the 2nd beat too. The 3rd beat is then played in the 'orthodox' way, the left thumb 'choking' the note played with the right index finger (or right hand). But that's me. And I believe there's no obligation.
User avatar
Chtimulato
 
Posts: 525
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 8:54 pm
Location: Heights of France

Re: Starting the marcha with an open tone

Postby Siete Leguas » Sat Feb 20, 2021 1:11 pm

Hi Chtimulato, were you referring to the marcha on the bongó (martillo) perhaps? I was actually asking about the marcha (tumbao) on the congas... That's interesting anyway!

I should have written conga/tumba instead of macho/hembra maybe...
User avatar
Siete Leguas
 
Posts: 172
Joined: Sun May 17, 2020 4:34 pm
Location: Alemania

Re: Starting the marcha with an open tone

Postby Chtimulato » Sat Feb 20, 2021 3:52 pm

Ah, sorry. I was not sure. I first understood congas, but was distracted at the moment (noisy family :) ) and then thought 'bongó'.

In this case (on congas), I like to begin with both hands : the right one on the tumbadora, and the left one on the conga, playing the 2 open tones at the same time. Regardless of the clave direction. And of the kind of music. My band mates are used to it. I also like to "announce" this beginning with a slapped flam on the previous 4th beat. So does our drummer too on the snare. This gives me the feeling to "install" the groove.
User avatar
Chtimulato
 
Posts: 525
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 8:54 pm
Location: Heights of France

Re: Starting the marcha with an open tone

Postby Siete Leguas » Sat Feb 20, 2021 5:17 pm

Chtimulato wrote:In this case (on congas), I like to begin with both hands : the right one on the tumbadora, and the left one on the conga, playing the 2 open tones at the same time. Regardless of the clave direction. And of the kind of music. My band mates are used to it. I also like to "announce" this beginning with a slapped flam on the previous 4th beat. So does our drummer too on the snare. This gives me the feeling to "install" the groove.


Nice! It sounds like a powerful start. Thanks, mate!
User avatar
Siete Leguas
 
Posts: 172
Joined: Sun May 17, 2020 4:34 pm
Location: Alemania

Re: Starting the marcha with an open tone

Postby Thomas Altmann » Sat Feb 20, 2021 6:44 pm

I play an open tone on the macho on 1, usually with my right hand and on either side of the clave. I might choose to syncopate it to 4+ before the 3-part if it's inside an arrangement. For the start of the montuno section, I like to play the hembra on 1, also on either side of the clave. However, I make sure it doesn't clash with the timbalero's abanico rimshot - that's my personal concern.

Also keep in mind that in a given tune, the arrangement may call for a completely different start. If the piece starts, say, with a pickup on 2+ (or anywhere), then you are generally supposed to start your tumbao there as well.

Thomas
Thomas Altmann
 
Posts: 883
Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2006 12:25 pm
Location: Hamburg

Re: Starting the marcha with an open tone

Postby Siete Leguas » Sat Feb 20, 2021 8:46 pm

Hi Thomas,
Thomas Altmann wrote:I play an open tone on the macho on 1, usually with my right hand and on either side of the clave.

That's the way I usually do it, too - I think you also showed me that. But I was having some doubts, as some people seem to do it differently depending on the starting side of the clave, and I can't tell if that is relevant at all. From your responses so far I think it's probably not so important.

I might choose to syncopate it to 4+ before the 3-part if it's inside an arrangement.

TBH, I don't quite understand what you mean here.

For the start of the montuno section, I like to play the hembra on 1, also on either side of the clave. However, I make sure it doesn't clash with the timbalero's abanico rimshot - that's my personal concern.

That's nice. I usually do it kind of the other way around. Right before a montuno in 2-3, I normally play the tumba on 4 (often without the 4+, emphasizing the ponche on clave) and then start the montuno with an open on the macho. I don't know where I got that from (or if it's even "right"), it just sounds good to me. I'm not sure if I've ever encountered a montuno in 3-2 when playing congas, so I don't know how I would play it. I also haven't thought too much about the timbalero yet, I guess I'm only familiar with abanicos ending on 1.

Also keep in mind that in a given tune, the arrangement may call for a completely different start. If the piece starts, say, with a pickup on 2+ (or anywhere), then you are generally supposed to start your tumbao there as well.

Would you in that case typically start with an open tone too (wherever your first stroke is), or does it just depend on the arrangement?

Cheers!
User avatar
Siete Leguas
 
Posts: 172
Joined: Sun May 17, 2020 4:34 pm
Location: Alemania

Re: Starting the marcha with an open tone

Postby Thomas Altmann » Sun Feb 21, 2021 12:03 am

TBH, I don't quite understand what you mean here.


Sometimes I mark the beginning of a new phrase or section in an arrangement, after a double bar line, so to say. If I feel I want to emphasize the clave in a 3-2 situation, then this could mean not to hit the 1 of the first bar, but to anticipate it - on the "and" of 4. It depends on how I feel at the moment. Again, structuring the piece and playing pick-ups and fill-ins or any way of marking the beginning of a new phrase is mostly the timbalero's or set drummers territory, so when in doubt, don't step on his part.

That's nice. I usually do it kind of the other way around. Right before a montuno in 2-3, I normally play the tumba on 4 (often without the 4+, emphasizing the ponche on clave) and then start the montuno with an open on the macho. I don't know where I got that from (or if it's even "right"), it just sounds good to me.


Sounds good to me, too ... You know, it's all possible according to the arrangement, and considering what the other guys do.

I'm not sure if I've ever encountered a montuno in 3-2 when playing congas, so I don't know how I would play it.


That depends on the arrangement and the other percussionists, like the fill-in of the timbalero. There are several ways to deal with it, and I don't like all of them. I prefer to delay or postpone the abanico for one bar, if it's possible.

I also haven't thought too much about the timbalero yet, I guess I'm only familiar with abanicos ending on 1.


Basically, yes. And I don't like to play an open tone on the macho under this rimshot. The hembra might work, but I can't tell you with authority whether a plain timbal rimshot wouldn't be even more effective. By the way, the finish of the abanico is often the rimshot plus one additional stroke on 1+, usually on the large timbal. Or you play a double abanico.

Would you in that case typically start with an open tone too (wherever your first stroke is), or does it just depend on the arrangement?


As a rule, rhythmic patterns, accents or unison passages should be marked with open tones, either on the macho, the hembra, or both of them alternating. Sometimes double stops (both hands on both drums) are the best solution. On the bongo, you use the open tone on the hembra. Anything else wouldn't carry, although I would not exclude that there may be situations that allow you to experiment. Always consider the music and your fellow musicians. You can also make suggestions and work out something that is not standard.

Thomas
Thomas Altmann
 
Posts: 883
Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2006 12:25 pm
Location: Hamburg

Re: Starting the marcha with an open tone

Postby Siete Leguas » Sun Feb 21, 2021 9:15 am

Thanks Thomas, it's all crystal clear now!
User avatar
Siete Leguas
 
Posts: 172
Joined: Sun May 17, 2020 4:34 pm
Location: Alemania

Re: Starting the marcha with an open tone

Postby Siete Leguas » Sun Feb 21, 2021 9:05 pm

BTW, following Chtimulato's first response: on the bongó in Son I like to start, whenever possible, with the "classical" pick-up macho accent on 4 and an open tone on the hembra on 1, and sometimes also on 2 like Chtimulato. For Changüí I believe the traditional start is a pick-up on the first of the two strokes of the last changüí clave (I guess you can count it as 3a in 4/4) on the macho of the bongó de monte (often played as a slap), followed by a 5-stroke roll on the hembra ending on 1. Love that one!
User avatar
Siete Leguas
 
Posts: 172
Joined: Sun May 17, 2020 4:34 pm
Location: Alemania

Re: Starting the marcha with an open tone

Postby drbongo42 » Wed Mar 16, 2022 9:59 pm

I do always use an open tone of the first beat of a Marcha - it marks the start of the rhythm with a nice strong starting note that everyone can hear. If you start with a heel/toe or closed sound it gets kind of lost especially if you are playing with a loud band and the first note they would hear would be the slap on beat 2. I do this no matter what order the Clave is going in, and I think I pretty much start with an open note no matter what rhythm or style I play in, because most Conga rhythms don't have a strong open note on beat one. I can't remember if I just started doing this naturally or whether someone told me to do it... :?
drbongo42
 
Posts: 30
Joined: Thu Sep 07, 2017 7:32 am

Re: Starting the marcha with an open tone

Postby vxla » Wed Aug 10, 2022 1:04 pm

I always begin a pattern with an open tone just we do when playing batá as well.
vxla
 
Posts: 158
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2011 9:49 pm
Location: Chicago, IL, US


Return to Congas Technique, Rhythms and Exercises

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests