Salsa is one of the most dynamic musical styles to come out of the western hemisphere. "Salsa" means "sauce," but the term should not be taken to mean simply hot and vibrant, nor should the music be regarded as such. Salsa is a term much like the word "swing" as it was applied to the jazz swing bands of the 1930s and 1940s. It describes a feeling that covers a wide range of emotions and musical expression. Salsa is not always fast-paced and vivid -- it can be slow and romantic or anything in between. The basic sound of salsa was intact before the term was applied to the music. In the 1940s and '50s, the Cuban sonero Arsenio Rodrigues, a blind tres player, became the dominant trendsetter in Latin music. His ensemble included a piano, a second trumpet, sometimes a saxophone, and an expanded rhythm section that included timbales, conga, and a cowbell. Instrumental parts were standardized and tight pre-set compositions were used. Salsa is also characterized by syncopated bass patterns.
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