top of page


Updated: May 30, 2020

What Is Salsa?

For all the foodies we want to make it clear that we're not talking about the delicious dip you eat with your tortilla chips. In this article we will be talking about Salsa as a dance style with Caribbean and African roots. It's very popular in almost all South America, and among Latino communities in the United States. Recently this dance has been picked up from social and competitive dancers in Europe and in Asia and many other countries around the globe.

Salsa Rhythm and music

The structure of the Salsa music is based on the 4/4 time signature grouped together in phrasing of 8 beats or two bars of music (1234-5678) which is often counted as 1-2-3 silent 4 then 5-6-7 silent 8. Typical instruments used are clave, piano, conga, trumpet, claves, guitar, cowbell.

The core groove of a salsa is provided by a key instrument called "clave". It is a very simple instrument very often played with two wooden sticks (called clave) that are hit together. There are instruments outside of the Clave that help define Salsa rhythm like the cowbell. The cowbell is played on the core beats of Salsa, 1, 3, 5 and 7. The basic Salsa rhythm is quick, quick, slow, quick, quick, slow, which are very similar to the beats of the cowbell.