Show off your theory chops with my weekly challenge! You’ll find a new question here every Monday. Please comment to post your reply.
This week’s challenge:
Here’s a section of Jelly Roll Morton’s New Orleans Blues, published in 1925. The left hand has a rhythm that’s found its way into jazz and an enormous amount of pop music. What is this rhythm called, and where did it originate?
Reply to post your answer, and check back on Friday, September 3rd to see if you’re right!
ANSWER for 8/30/21
The left hand of New Orleans Blues is half of the Son Clave rhythm. It’s also known as the tresillo, meaning triplet in Spanish: the first three cross-beats in the 3-against-4 polyrhythm. Morton himself called it the “Spanish Tinge,” but it’s really Afro-Cuban in origin. The versatility of this rhythm, either in its complete form or just the first measure, has ensured its appearance in an impressive variety of musical genres. It influenced the Cuban Habanera, early jazz, Latin-jazz fusion (Professor Longhair’s Blues Rhumba), early rock (Willie and the Hand Jive), Beatles riffs, and beyond. Here’s the complete rhythm:
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