Familia Valera Miranda (Cuba) - Se quema la chumbambá

  • Created by: Stephanie
  • Created on: 20-11-14 19:27


  • Example of son, a type of popular music from Cuba, often used to accompany dancing
  • Son developed in the first half of the 20th century and combines elements of Spanish and African music. It was influential in the more recent development of salsa music
  • The song was recorded in 1994 by a family of six Cuban musicians who specialise in the study and performance of traditional music from Cuba
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Rhythm and Metre

  • The time signature indicated simple duple time - two minim beats per bar, rather than four crotchet beats
  • Most important rhythmic element in son is the syncopated ostinato played by the claves, called a 3:2 son clave because of its pattern of 3 notes followed by 2 notes
  • Syncopation is also important in the cuatro and vocal lines. All of these parts are silent on the first beat of their main two-bar patterns
  • More varied rhythms (including triplets) are heard during the long cuatro solo, which also relies heavily on syncopation
  • A constant quaver pulse is played on the bongos
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Melody and Word Setting

  • The entire vocal melody is based on the same two-bar phrase (with slight variations)
  • It consists of call and response between the solo singer (pregón) and chorus (coro)
  • The pregón melody has a narrow range of a minor 6th
  • The word setting is entirely syllabic
  • Improvised melody in the cuatro solo is much more varied with a wider range, larger leaps and some chromaticism
  • The cuatro riff is primarily formed from broken chords (which also feature in the solo
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Harmony and Tonality

  • The song is in G minor throughout (there are no modulations)
  • The functional harmony is based entirely on tonic, and dominant 7th chords. it consists of a repeated chord patten of Gm - D7 - D7 - Gm
  • The bass often anticipates a change of chord by a crotchet, as in bar 5 ('anticipation bass' is a common feature of son and salsa music)
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  • The main instrumental riffs (ostinati) are announced in a 12-bar introduction
  • These form the accompaniment to the strophic verses that follow, in a call-and-response style
  • In the middle of these verses is a long solo for cuatro and bongos
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Resources and Texture

  • The song is performed by

- Pregón (solo voice) and two-part coro (chorus, actually sung by the instrumentalists)

- Cuatro (a guitar-like instrument with four pairs of metal strings)

- Double bass

- Latin-American percussion (maracas, claves, and high and low bongo drums)

  • The texture consists of melody-dominated homophony, largely based on ostinati (riffs)
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