rhythm in question, hot po-ta-to

It is used in some earlier songs of Antònia Font:

If you slow it down it becomes a Phil Spector drumbeat.

In which other ways can it be precisely described?


  • Looks like habanera.
    – nonpop
    Oct 12, 2013 at 22:17

2 Answers 2


That is called a Habanera rhythm (also known as Cuban contradanza). It is a traditionally Cuban/Afro-Latin rhythm. It is closely related to the Tresillo rhythm and the Hemiola. It is the duple pulse correlative of the triple pulse Vertical Hemiola.

The Wikipedia articles go into good detail explaining these rhythms further, so I won't needlessly quote them. However, if you don't understand something in one of the articles, feel free to ask and we'll try to clarify it.

  • thanks, interesting connection with the other rhythms. I guess you could call the Tresillo and Hemiola diminished (by one note missing each) versions of the Habanera. Nicely answered!
    – Graham
    Oct 12, 2013 at 22:32

This rhythm (or rhythmic cell) is so common that it appears in everything from Opera to Reggaeton:

Reggaeton example: (Menealo) https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/reggaeton!-20-latin-hits-very/id83091088

Opera example: Carmen: l'amour est un oiseau... https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/carmen-lamour-est-oiseau-rebelle/id454403092?i=454403701

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