Rumba & Tangos Multi-Track Loop Player™ – Promo

Spanish Rumba

Rumba Flamenca & Flamenco Tangos Multi-Track Loop Player samples have been recorded at the highest quality – 24 bits and 48 000 Hz. Depending on the soundboard that you are using for playback – the sound may be slightly distorted on the hitpoints. It happens especially if a lot of tracks are playing back simultaneously. On some old Android systems, there could be a delay in looped playback. Of course that the Gypsy rule: “how much money – that much music” is of big importance here. The sound quality definitely depends on your D/A device, and the quality of conversion from digital to analog sound.
If you are using the integrated soundboard, (laptop, tablet, or desktop with soundboard integrated on the motherboard) – to improve the sound quality, you can turn down to 85% your main speaker output on the computer. Therefore, turn up the volume on your external speakers slightly.
Professional producers follow the first and most important principle when mixing songs. They start by soloing just one channel with its level to approximately 90% (to leave enough headroom for postproduction). Then they add channels one by one to the mix, by slowly raising the volume of each channel until it can be heard perfectly with the lowest volume possible.
The only “non-chromatic” or “non-tunable” percussion used in flamenco today are Palmas (hand claps), Shaker, Maracas, Cabasa, Caxixi, etc… So, all the similar “shaker type” small Latin percussion: Egg or Ice Shaker, Shekere (like a rustic Cabasa, but from a real pumpkin, with the perforated fruit seeds instead of the metal beads), etc…
Cajón also has a “non-tunable” high sounds, but the bass note can often have an exact main frequency. It can impact the song harmonically, having like a bass “pedal-tone” note repeating throughout the entire arrangement. So, the major portion of the Latin percussion instruments is tuned to an exact frequency. It is always depending on the tonality of the song that’s being played.
For tuning all percussion instruments some basic tools are always needed. Or some type of a screwdriver, or some type of a wrench. So, on live performances, we can often see various sets of one and the same instrument – tuned to different pitches. They are often placed all around the musicians on the stage, (so they don’t have to re-tune them rapidly between the songs…)
All the percussion instruments in the loop sets are tuned to match the key of E minor. That’s because it is the principal guitar’s tonality. It is the best starting point to learn Rumba Flamenca on the Spanish guitar. And in the case of playing “flamenco palos por medio”(bulerias, alegrias, etc…), (since our starting point is the tonicalized dominant of the E minor – the note B natural), it is best to have the capo (“la cejilla”) [sehilya] – put on the 2nd fret. Playing with the capo on the 2nd fret will also boost all the harmonics on the guitar you are playing. It will force the guitar to open itself “towards the light”, and boost all the harmonics for E minor tonality. So, all the percussion is primarily tuned to the tonicalized dominant – B natural. The second note is the dominant of the dominant – F#, and ultimately, the tonic – note E.

Cajón can also be made in such a way that it can be tuned. Neither one of these two cajóns was tuned to any frequency – intentionally, to avoid any harmonic dependence. But lately, cajóns are often tuned to a specific frequency, by tightening the front board screws. They are pushing the front board harder onto the front edge, that has 2 different “levels”. (like “a step”, with the lower inner edge). The outer rim is protruding some 5 mm more than the inner part where the screws go. So, tightening the screws – curves up inwards the whole front board (making a parabola in the cross-section). As we go tightening, it allows us to over-tense the front board raising the main frequency; on some cajóns, we can raise it up to a 5th. So on some modern-day Cajóns, we can precisely define the bass tone frequency if we want to…

Bongos was recorded with the instrument skins tuned to the best possible notes that are common for almost all consonances in the E minor tonality. So, “El Macho” (the smaller drum), with the skin made of an X-ray sheet – gives a whole 5th note higher. It’s because it is made from the thick plastic instead of the appropriate drum skin. So it’s tuned to B = 246,94 Hz. While “La Hembra” (the bigger drum) with its natural skin – is exactly one octave lower. It is also tuned to the note B = 123,47 Hz. So these frequencies belong to the two most distant consonances in E minor at the same time. In the tonic, the 1st-degree chord – the note B is the 5th. At the same time for the 5th-degree chord, or the dominant, the note B is the 1st. So, the 5th-degree note is the best possible note to be played as a “pedal-tone note”, (throughout the whole harmonic cycle). So, the bongos (tuned to an octave instead to a perfect 4th) are tuned for playing in E minor – perfectly.

Clave: (“the nail”) is tuned to the “dominant of the dominant” note – F#. That is because of how Bongos were first tuned. Normally the “Macho” bongos drum should have been tuned to the dominant of the dominant note – F#. So to compensate, and because of how the sound of the clave superimposes with the sound of the bongos – F#.

Congas: the TUMBA is tuned to B = 123,47 Hz, while the TUMBADORA is tuned to F# = 92,50 Hz (the Quinto and Requinto were not used). Originally the congas had just two drums, the “tumba” and the “tumbadora“, while the “quinto” and “requinto” were added later. Tuned like this – to the dominant and to “the dominant of the dominant” – it’s standard tuning for Conga drums.

Shaker in flamenco is quieter than in Latin jazz. The shaker should NEVER overpower the guitar strumming in flamenco. It would take over the lead groove of the rhythm carried by guitars. So just have it @ lower volume, so that your strumming makes the groove and not the shaker…

Entre Dos Aguas loop sets – Paco De Lucia arranged this rumba flamenca just with 3 channels/instruments: rhythm guitars, solo guitar and bass, and the only percussion he used were the bongos. The bongos do not interfere with the guitar’s frequency range so much as congas, for example. So, with the Cuban bongos “Martillo” pattern (“the hammer”) (in Entre Dos Aguas B loop set), this rumba flamenca stayed at the top of all international charts for a long time during the mid-’70s. Besides the instruments used in Entre Dos Aguas, there are also samples of palmas, shaker, clave, etc…

Rumba flamenca loop sets are a bit overcrowded with samples and instruments. The fact that these channels musically and rhythmically align and can all be superimposed – doesn’t mean that they all have to play back at the same time. So, better make your own groove and the sub-mix you like for practicing, by soloing only the channels you want.

Tangos loop sets are primarily based on cajón and palmas, and both congas and bongos are irrelevant. They are there not because they should carry the groove. These patterns can just be sometimes heard as an accompaniment in tangos, in some song’s arrangement. Feel free to mute them while studying, they are screaming E minor key, not allowing you to think in any other tonality…

Rumba Flamenca