Clave Rhythms For Didgeridoo (20-Minute Video Class)


In much of African and Afro-Latin music, a key element is the bell pattern, or clave pattern: a syncopated rhythmic figure that repeats and is the foundation for a musical form. Using a variety of clave patterns we can create rhythms for didgeridoo that are exciting with an upbeat feel. In this video we explore clave rhythms from Africa, Cuba, Latin-America and Brazil, and we learn what each of these claves sounds like and how to play it.

–> Download the worksheet for this Video Class here.

Clave literally means “key” in Spanish and it is used to describe both the instrument, comprised of two hardwood sticks, and the rhythm. This class looks at some of the most popular clave rhythms, the son clave, rumba clave and bossa nova clave.

Son (rhymes with “zone”) or son cubano, is an Afro-Cuban style of music that gave birth to salsa and many other styles of contemporary Latin music. Its traditional instrumentation consists of voices, the guitar, tres (a three stringed guitar variant), and afro-Cuban percussion, including the clave instrument.

Bossa Nova and Rumba claves are two more patterns that make great rhythms for didgeridoo. Watch the video for a full description of each.

Want to learn more rhythms from around the world? Sign up for our free online course, World Rhythms For Didgeridoo:



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AJ Block is the director of Didge Project and is active as a didgeridoo teacher and performer. In addition to didgeridoo, AJ has spent years studying music traditions from all over the world including jazz (trombone and piano), western classical music, Indian Classical Music, guitar and world percussion. AJ has developed a number of programs for Didge Project including The ABCs of Didgeridoo, The Didgeridoo Skills Course, and Circular Breathing Mastery. He is also the author of Didge For Sleep, a didgeridoo learning method designed specifically for people with Sleep Apnea. As a performer AJ is the leader of the Didge Project Music Collective and a member of Dream Seed: A Shamanic Sound Journey. AJ is a founding member of Sacred Arts Research Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of sacred art traditions through education, ritual and study. As a student of spiritual teacher Maestro Manuel Rufino AJ is an active member of the Golden Drum community.