Clave (rhythm) - Types - Son Clave - Tresillo

The antecedent half has three strokes and is called the three-side of clave. In Cuban popular music, the first three strokes of son clave are also known collectively as tresillo, a Spanish word meaning triplet i.e. three equal beats in the same time as two main beats. However, in the vernacular of Cuban popular music, the term refers to the figure shown above. The consequent half (second measure above) of clave has two strokes and is called the two-side.

Going only slightly into the rhythmic structure of our music we find that all its melodic design is constructed on a rhythmic pattern of two measures, as though both were only one, the first is antecedent, strong, and the second is consequent, weak—Grenet (1939).

clave... the two measures are not at odds, but rather, they are balanced opposites like positive and negative, expansive and contractive or the poles of a magnet. As the pattern is repeated, an alternation from one polarity to the other takes place creating pulse and rhythmic drive. Were the pattern to be suddenly reversed, the rhythm would be destroyed as in a reversing of one magnet within a series... the patterns are held in place according to both the internal relationships between the drums and their relationship with clave... Should the drums fall out of clave (and in contemporary practice they sometimes do) the internal momentum of the rhythm will be dissipated and perhaps even broken—Amira and Cornelius (1992).

Read more about this topic:  Clave (rhythm), Types, Son Clave

Other articles related to "tresillo":

Afro-Cuban Jazz - History - "Spanish Tinge"—the Cuban Influence in Early Jazz
... can be thought of as a combination of tresillo and the backbeat ... Early New Orleans jazz bands had habaneras in their repertoire and the tresillo/habanera figure was a rhythmic staple of jazz at the turn of the 20th century ... the music of Cuba, Wynton Marsalis observes that tresillo is the New Orleans "clave" ...
Music Of New Orleans - Jazz - Cuban Influence
... (also known as congo, tango-congo, or tango.) can be thought of as a combination of tresillo and the backbeat ... Gottschalk used the tresillo variant cinquillo extensively ... Whether tresillo was directly transplanted from Cuba, or if the habanera merely reinforced tresillo-like "rhythmic tendencies" already present in New Orleans music ...
Contradanza - Cinquillo, Tresillo, and The Habanera Rhythm
... The cinquillo (a variant of the more basic tresillo) is a syncopated rhythmic cell whose introduction into the contradanza/danza began its differentiation from a ... Cuba remained ignorant of its existence Tresillo is used for ostinato bass figures of some contradanzas, such as "Tu madre es conga." Another tresillo variant popularized by ...