DEFINITION OF THE DOWN BEATS OR CHORD BEATS
The Down Beats or Chord Beats
The downbeats are the strongest beat of any phrase of music, not including the waltz.
The downbeats are beats number: 1, 3, 5, 7.
It is important to note that New York “On 2” salsa/mambo dancers usually begin most of their moves, turns, and shines on the 1st beats or 5th beats of the measure, the downbeats. For example, the cross body lead begins on 1 when the lady is already stepping forward with her right foot. The ladies’ turns are usually begun on 1 with the set up, and the man’s turns are often begun on 5 for the set up as well. Shines also usually begin on 1 or 5.
The 1 is the beginning of the 8 beats of the salsa measure.
A measure is = to 4 beats, therefore, 2 measures = 8 beats or a phrase.
The hardest or strongest downbeat or emphasis in most rhythmic music is on 1, the first beat of any phrase.
Beat 1 = hardest beat in the whole phrase and this is when a dancer feels the “thrust” or “power” of the rhythm.
In addition to the 1 beat, there is another downbeat, somewhat less strong, and it is on the 5th beat of the measure (the beginning of the 2nd 4 beat measure), when the man often begins his turns.
The 1 and the 5 are the strongest rhythmic points in the salsa music, and that is where we begin most of our moves when we dance On 2.
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