The quinto (literally fifth in Spanish) is the smallest and highest pitched type of conga drum. It is used as the lead drum in Cuban rumba styles such as guaguancó, yambú, columbia and guarapachangueo, and it is also present in congas de comparsa. Quinto phrases are played in both triple-pulse (12/8, 6/8) and duple-pulse (4/4, 2/2) structures.
Latin Percussion LP City Wood Congas 10″ & 11″ Set:
During the verses of the song the quinto is capable of sublime creativity, while musically subordinate to the lead vocalist. There are natural pauses in the cadence of the verses, typically one or two measures in length, where the quinto can play succinct phrases in the “holes” left by the singer. During the verses the quinto does not demonstrate technical virtuosity so much as taste and restraint.
The quinto plays within two main rhythmic modes, corresponding to the two main modes of rumba dancing – the lock mode & cross mode.
Edgardo further breaks down quinto patterns into “rides”.
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Conga Video Lesson # 11