Conga is a professionnal standard for hand drumming,by itself it worth to have it on thumbjam at the level the instrument deserve.
The general understanding of this instrument is quite poor.
Here is some basics :
there is first only two sounds on one conga that create it's harmonic definition : the open tone and the closed slap. With only these two, you can play everything, but the conga as to be tuned in the key of the song.
The open tone is a note and can be seen as the tonic. The slap is a note too but with poor definition and can be seen as the dominant.
We may see this as a scale, open tone linked with a close slap give us a major scale. All the basic Cuban rythms are build in this only scale.
Then comes a secondary scale from the harmonic relationsheep between the mute sound and the open slap. This scale can be call minor or secondary.
A conga solo seen through a statistic average will be build as 80% of the first scale and 20% of the second one ; it will be the same for a modern rythm.
Some may have heard palm and finger tips like ghostnotes in the playing. This relate to the Cuban technic achievement of conga handling. There is two function in it : first it's a help to control time second and most important is the control of the sounds. A beautifull conga playing sounds sticky,mysterious,magic as it comes from a spiritual repertoire. Conga playing is a call to gods, but they like to dance too.
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