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Conga drums are an integral piece of most Latin American music. These instruments are utilized in genres like salsa and rumba, as well as in Afro-Caribbean religious music also. Conga drums are a very imperative facet of life in South America.

The bodies of conga drums are "staved," or made of multiple strips of wood or fiberglass, like the development of a barrel. Odds are that the precursors of modern congas were, indeed, produced using salvaged barrels. The drum heads are of rawhide or synthetic materials and are screw-tensioned. The tallness of the average conga drum is around three feet, and the instruments are typically played in sets of two to four. They can be played from either a sitting or standing position, although for the latter, the drums must be mounted on a rack. An artist who plays conga is called a "conguero."

Although the average stature of a conga drum is around three feet, there is in reality enough size variation to warrant different names for different sized drums. Be that as it may, there is some confusion over these names. One source maintains that the drums are arranged by largest to smallest, the "tumba," the "conga," the "quinto," the "requinto" and the "Ricardo," the last being named for Desi Arnaz's character of Ricky Ricardo on "I Love Lucy."

Another source calls the largest the "tumba," yet refers to the smallest as the "nino" and gives no names for the middle sizes. Still different names include the "segundo" and the "supertumba." Clearly, there is no standardized arrangement of names. Indeed, even the expression "conga drum" can sometimes be confusing. While a few experts think the "conga" may be utilized as a part of both English and Spanish, others offer that it ought to be utilized just in English and that "tumbadoras" ought to be utilized as a part of Spanish. All and everything, it can be quite bewildering.

But there is nothing confusing about the rhythms of the conga drums. To deliver these rhythms, congueros utilize five basic tones and

techniques: the open tone, the muffled tone, the bass tone, the slap, and the touch.

The open tone is exactly what its name implies-an unmistakable resonant tone with a distinct pitch made by striking four fingers close to the edge of the head. The muffled tone resembles the open tone, however the fingers are held against the top which muffles the sound. The bass tone is made by striking the head with the full palm of the hand.

The slap technique delivers a popping sound, and the touch, again as the name implies, is a method of scarcely touching the fingers or the foot rear area of the hand to the drum head. A last technique exists in which the conguero utilizes his elbow to apply pressure to different parts of the head. This is not a customary method, but rather it is commonly utilized as a part of modern salsa and rumba.

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