Salsa Piano By Ear

Salsa music is very difficult to play for many of us!!! Why??? This is what I share w/ my students:

In music the unit of time is called a 'bar'. Each bar of music is made of 4 beats. In salsa, most phrases (both in music and in dancing) cover blocks of 2 bars, which means 8 beats.
Strong and weak beats. In musical terminology the odd beats (n1 n3 n5 n7) are called strong beats. The even beats are called weak beats. This distinction is important.

Music Accents. The accents are notes (or beats) which are louder than the others. The distribution of the accents is one of the factors which determines the rhythm of a piece of music. Here is the most important difference between 'western' pop music and Cuban music (from which salsa originates.)

In most pop music strong beats and accents coincide. Here the hands mark the accents in the music. Notice how the hands fall on the 'odd' beats. This is why it easy to 'find the beat' in western pop music.

In many styles of music with African roots the rhythm structure is more complicated. In swing for example (notice the hand clapping), the accents coincide with the 'even' beats and this is even clearer in reggae, one of the many forms of Caribbean music. In musical terms this is called syncopation. In Cuba the rhythm structure is even more complicated. It is based on the clave, and on other percussion instruments which interleave with one another marking both the odd and the even beats. This generates the 'Cuban' feel, and is one of the factors which makes it challenging for a 'westerner's ear' to 'find the beat' in salsa.

But thanks to so many music resources, like salsa dvds, YouTube Salsa videos, Salsa Music Books, it's becoming easier to play and feel that Latin beat, even if you're Greek! Here's an example of playing in the minor keys that give that Latin Jazz sound by JC, latinpianist:
"How To Play Salsa" Piano Tutorial Part 2

I think this is a pretty cool video- Salsa Piano 102 by richpata! Thanks for giving us the chords! Love the beat!

Learn salsa piano guaje with video, sheet music and backing track at one of my favorite sites,

Another awesome site for full written piano montuno parts
and exercises with typical latin breaks:

Now, Jermaine Griggs, founder of, has posted an exciting new release, Salsa Piano By Ear Keyboard Lesson Samples by Jeff. Interested in hot tips to add to your Salsa Piano playing? Sign up and view some
great clips! New!! Play Salsa Piano

Salsa Piano By Ear Keyboard Lesson Sample of Jeff's Playing

Salsa Piano 101 - Learn The Secrets To Playing Salsa by Ear!

Salsa Playing Has Never Been So Easy!

Salsa Piano 101 - Take Your Salsa Paying To The Next Level!

Salsa Piano 101 - Salsa, Salsa, and More Salsa... WOW!
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