Latin Patterns – The Cascara
The Cascara pattern is a very familiar Latin drumming pattern that can be incorporated in all styles of music. Salsa, Bossa Nova, Samba, and other Afro Cuban styles are just a few examples on where the Cascara is utilized. This is one of those patterns, like the clave, that is a must to learn if you want to get into Latin style drumming. This groove takes a lot of independence when playing this in a beat. The Cascara can be played on many different drum voices; although it is usually played on the cowbell, ride cymbal, and rim shot. Take your time to learn this groove, as it will help you out a lot.
Thinking of these patterns (clave, cascara etc…) as essential rudiments for Latin drumming will hopefully explain why they are so important. In rock drumming, you use the single stroke roll, double stroke roll, and paradiddle a lot; while in Latin drumming, you use the Son clave, Rhumba clave, and Cascara a lot. So practice this on a practice pad like you would any other rudiment. That being said lets dive into the Cascara.
The Cascara is a 2 bar pattern played in 4/4. It can be played just like the clave pattern, in 2:3 or in 3:2. They are both played equally in beats, so make sure you practice both ways. Try this pattern on the ride cymbal to start out. Remember to count out loud. This will force you to play the right beats on time. Try the 2:3 Cascara:
Next, you are going to want to tackle the 3:2 Cascara. This is usually the simpler beat usually:
Try playing the cascara with the 2:3 Son Clave. You can add any one of the clave patterns in any direction. Experiment with a few different varieties to work on independence.
Here is an example video of the cascara pattern.
There you have it, the Cascara pattern. Playing that last pattern fits really well in a salsa song. Playing the cascara on your rims, ride cymbal, cowbell, and other drums to spice things up. Once you have learnt this, maybe try playing it overtop of your left foot clave. Different combinations of these grooves are what make Latin music so exciting!
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