The Piano in Salsa & Mambo
The underlying base of modern salsa music is the piano. The contribution of the piano to a salsa band consists of sophisticated harmonies and syncopated rhythms. This is where the richness of salsa music shows itself at its best. Top salsa pianists show deep influences going from classical music to modern jazz. Because of its crucial role, clearly there is no 'standard' piano pattern and a full description of piano styles in salsa would require several books. For the purpose of these instructions two concepts are most important:
1) the piano patterns are designed to interleave with the clave. In simple cases by playing 'with it', but most often by playing 'around it', that is by filling the spaces left empty by the clave. Hearing the beat in the piano necessarily implies understanding the clave.
2) The rhythm in the piano is not given merely by the timing of the notes it plays, but also by their melodic structures. This concept is too advanced for an introductory timing video and if you are interested in learning more we recommend you click here.
In our timing CD, you will find two tracks with piano part with and without voice over. You will find this structure common to many popular salsa songs.