Salsa lecture notes


Lecture slides in powerpoint or pdf format.


What distinguishes salsa from its Cuban predecessors? While the roots of salsa are firmly imbedded in the Cuban son and its descendents (such as the mambo, cha-cha-chá and guaracha), there are four main factors in how it became its own genre: an increased use of trombones; the important role of the Cuban timbales in the ensemble; the modern harmony associated with jazz music; and the incorporation of Puerto Rican rhythms, instruments and stylistic elementsRebeca Mauleón


salsa” v. “son

·         insult? does not respect distinct cultures  “all you people look alike”

·         rip-off not acknowledging Cuban roots?

·         artifact of anti-Soviet/anti-communist politics?

·         pan-Latino? political unity

·         useful term?  Sells more!

·         necessary term – recognizes hybrid nature of the music




concise notes on salsa history by Rebeca Mauleón


basic “salsa” rhythms in detail (notation with downloadable audio clips).  The core rhythms are Cuban but added ones make it “salsa.”


salsa beat machine” interactive demo of salsa and merengue rhythms (switch sounds off and on; no notation)



general (covering a wide variety of Latin and world music styles)


video lessons on percussion from LP (Latin Percussion)




David Meckler

Feb 2010

Cañada College

 MUS 240 Music of the Americas