Contra Campana and Coro Bell

When playing in a Salsa band, there will be many times when you are the sole provider of bell bliss. It’s pretty common for the drumset to play the timbal parts and sometimes even replace the timbalero on gigs. This is sometimes done because of economic reasons. When a full percussion section is too expensive to hire. Or the music simply has a more modern edge to it. When there is no timbalero, and the drums are playing all the bell parts, the band will be counting on you to fill up that dance floor and rock the people off their seats. Yes …the time has come for some serious bell groove action. When these two bells come in, its like the portals of salsa drumming heaven have opened up to you. It’s time to lay down some deep grooving voodoo. But you have to know exactly when to break these beauties out and when to hold back. This combination of both bells will usually take place during the choruses of the songs. But also on a few different sections. Like behind certain soloists, mostly ones that are considered to have more dynamic power. Like trumpet or trombone. Descarga sections, meaning sections where everyone is taking turns soloing also can have this pattern going on as well. Descargar in Spanish means to totally let go. To have a blast. IN musical terms it means to play until you drop! The point is that it is very very important for you to have this under your belt. It will take some time because of the independence involved. So I broke down the hands and the feet into separate exercises. The pattern is very syncopated and might be too difficult to start all the limbs together.  It’s best to get the hands going and then add the Bass drum and hi hat later.

All of the following examples are in 2-3 clave. In example one you will see that the coro bell is following the clave. In the first measure, the 2 side of the clave is outlined. As opposed to the 2nd and last example where the pattern is the same the whole time. It is very typical for the coro bell to do this so make sure you understand how the clave is being outlined. You will also notice that in the 2nd and last example the contra campana pattern has changed. This a very nice and modern variation for the contra campana. I like it  because it has less redundancy in the pattern. Meaning the bells don’t play so many of the notes together. Giving the groove a more open texture.

Here are the exercises

Contra campana and corobell



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