Salsa Music

By: Emily Kiska

Overview of Salsa Music

The salsa that is eaten in Latin America is added to spice/flavor the food, so when salsa music came to be, DJ, bandleaders and musicians started yelling “SALSA!” to give the music more energy or flavor, also giving the people an extra burst of energy.

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History of Salsa

Salsa started in New York New York around the 1930’s, because everyone brought their own native rhythms and music forms, and when all the different cultures blended, Salsa was made. The music has cultural influences from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and American music.

J Escobar Huerta

Salsa - La Rebelion - Joe Arroyo by J Escobar Huerta

Characteristics of Salsa music

Salsa music mainly uses 4/4 time signature and is mostly played in a clave 3-2. Salsa music uses these instruments but are not limited to claves, cowbells, timbales, conga trumpets, trombones, bass guitar, guitar, and the piano. Some famous salsa artists include Marc Anthony, Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Rubén Blades, Ray Barretto, and Mongo Santamaria.

Connections to Dance

Salsa dancing is associated with this music. It is a partner dance where the man leads and the woman follows. The music has 4 beats per measure but the dancers only take steps on 3 of the beats pausing for one beat. This is often confusing for beginners. You could count it like step, step, step, pause or some people say "quick, quick, slow." The dance includes both turn patterns as well as moments where the couple may separate and dance apart for a short time before retuning to dance together. The hips of the dancers, both man and woman, are always moving.
Rodrigo Guzman & Nayara Nunez - World Latin Dance Cup 2012 Salsa Cabaret Couple SemiF

The Music Today

Salsa music is taking off in Central and South America. Young people are responding to the music in the south, and it is projected that modern salsa music will take off in Central America and all over the world.
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