Historical research on the slave trade from the 16th century to today convincingly shows that Africans and their descendants were treated as objects to be exploited and not as carriers of culture. Even today, however, despite an acceptance of the importance of seeing African descendants as contemporary individuals and assessing their valuable contributions, degrading expressions created by European slave owners still persist. In the past, slave traders used not only the word black to refer to slaves, but also terms in Spanish such as carabalí, lucumí, takua or cangá, to simplify references to slaves. Those terms negated the true historical identities of African cultural groups, such as the Ibo, Yoruba, Nupe or Malinke-Wangana, among others. In the fields of anthropology, ethnography and history, expressions such as "black trade" have yet to be exorcised and replaced with "slave trade" or "human trafficking." It is clear that the language created by the conquistadors is still alive.
Meter: the center
An organological analysis of Caribbean music of African heritage (for example, instrumentation and its songs) points to time signature or meter (clave) and its variations as a central rhythmic element. Percussion instruments made by artisans were used to perform the rhythm. Fernando Ortiz categorizes these instruments as palitos entrechocantes. The meter or beat is the percussive musical pattern that is played with these instruments that accompanies or points the way for the drums. Because of its importance, meter is closely related to the origins of this genre of music.
Through the historical parallels in the development of this musical pattern on the different islands and regions of the Caribbean, it is possible to identify similarities and differences in the frequency of the beat. The predominant place of the beat in the organology or structure of the musical variations created by the rhythm instruments can also be established. Basically there are two types of meters in the Antillean Caribbean. The first is the rumba meter, which originated in the coastal zones of Cuba, on the docks and in coastal neighborhoods where the rumba was formed. The second is the son, the generic name for the music that originated in the countryside and was later introduced to coastal areas of Cuba, as well as the rest of the Caribbean.
The meter for rumba is also 2/3 time. This means that the percussion's effect is created by the third beat in the first measure, which is accented by a stronger beat or is an octave different, subtly mixing with the second measure and creating an illusion of rhythmic rocking back and forth. In written music (a mode that we originally inherited from the Europeans), this movement takes place in the first measure. The popular name for this pattern is rumba, as mentioned above. Among the three kinds of rumba that currently exist, the yambú, the guaguancó and the columbia, this pattern is most obvious in the guaguancó. It can be noted sometimes in the yambú, a genre whose meter is usually played in a pattern identified as the meter of the son genre.
The first cousin to the rumba meter is the son meter, which includes various musical forms of the genre of the same name. These are known as the guajira, son montuno (the roots of salsa), changüí, cha-cha-chá, the guarachaguaracha: A fast-paced Cuban dance of Andalusian origin, in which the music has a 2/4 or 4/8 meter. and the son bolero, among others. But this meter is not exclusive to the Afro-Cuban musical argot. It can also be noted, for example, in merengue in the Dominican Republic and the plena of Puerto Rico, where it also plays a central role or starting point. Although the basic son beat is a 3-2 pattern (three beats in the first measure and two in the second), it is usually written in the inverse, 2-3.
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