Map of Cuba- Image Courtesy of Cuba 2002 by Michael R. Ayers


Son virtually eliminated the French orchestra used in the popular danzón and replaced it with the African rhythms brought to Cuba by the African slaves (12). Many Cuban musicians believe that salsa doesn't actually exist but is actually Cuban Son dressed up for commercial purposes (6).

Son originated in the Oriente Provence. Son introduced several instruments: such as the bongos, marimbula, guijada, the timbales criollos, the cowbell, botijulla (instrument that resembles a large earthen jar and is played by placing ones lips and blowing air through the opening at its neck) and the diente de arado (which sounds like a deep cowbell) (12). Claves wree also developed from the hardwood used for building boats. Claves are used to keep the rhythm for the dancers. In Havana, the trumpet was also added to Son. Son consists of a repetition of el estibio or the chorus and four bars that constitute the Montuno, a type of call and response to the soloist.

Son is a very formal dance where a man and a woman are closely embraced (5). The man begins with quick side to side movements of the shoulders, torso and hips. Son like danzón is danced off the tempo and the rhythmic pattern is similar to danzón's slow-quick-quick pattern.

Cuban Son


History of Salsa
African Rhythms
History of Salsa Dancing
French Connection
Cuban Son