Coro Bell 101

Coro Bell Mounted on BD

HI Folks!!
In this next workshop we will focus on a few different things.
A) Basic Coro / Bongo Bell patterns.
B) Learning a few new terms that will help you function in an ensemble.
C) Basic independence with the Coro bell.

Coro Bell Mounted on BD

Coro Bell Mounted on BD.
This is a Gon Bops Timbal bell.

[fancy_link link=”” variation=”orange”]Gonbops Percussion[/fancy_link]

Just to review, the Coro bell, AKA Bongo bell, gets it’s name because usually in an Afro Cuban ensemble, the Bongocero (Bongo player) plays a hand held version of this bell. Arrangments usually dictate where the Coro bell will be played. Example: during the chorus of a tune. “Coro” means chorus in Spanish. It is also played during certain instruments solo’s. We will get into more detail with that later. The basic actual coro bell pattern is very adaptable and can be used effectively in many different styles. Funk, Fusion, Rock, etc. So if you put the time into getting it down, it will pay off! Now that you have an idea about how this bell functions and some of the hand movements involved in playing it, lets check out some patterns and Independence exercises.

The first pattern you see is what you play typically on the drumset, in an Afro Cuban setting. For a right handed drummer, right hand plays the bell. The bass drum is playing a basic Tumbao pattern on the “duh of 1”. Ok…What is tumbao right? Haha. Tumbao technically means a repetitive pattern that is played on piano, bass or congas. Or in this case the drumset. Some people confuse this term with “montuno”. The “montuno ” is a specific section of a song. For example where horns are playing with the rhythm section. The tumbaos are the actual patterns being played. I know it can get confusing but keep reading. Listening to the music and working with me here. It will all be clear. The left hand plays the sidestick on the “and of 1” and the hi tom on the “and of 2”. This is derived from the left hand pattern played on the timbal. Keep in mind that these patterns evolved from the timbales to the kit. That means there is a certain balance between the voices of the drumset. The Bell will be the dominant source of drive and time. Remember, in most cases in Latin music, you drive the time from the top end of the kit. Accessories like bells play the main parts. Not the bottom. Not the bass drum and snare. (like in Rock or Funk)

Coro bell 101  – Download these Exercises

Exercise 2 is a variation with the hi hats on the downbeats. This hi hat pattern is very popular. The time feels a bit more grounded this way. Not everybody likes it so learn both ways.

Exercise 3, 4, are basic independence exercises. You will need to be independent from the bell part in order to play the music properly. Eventually the left hand should play freely over the basic bell pattern. There will be many many many more exercises to come. So have fun, be patient and always feel welcome to contact me on my website if you have questions. Con Sabor!
Phil M.

Here is a short demo and fun on bells!


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