There are a lot of music styles with drum rhythms that in English are commonly known as breakbeats, breaks, or more generally, broken beats. I once heard someone describe a rhythm as "más quebrado" (more broken) than another, so ritmos/latidos quebrados comes to mind if I were guessing and simply translating the English words. I've also said latidos rotos, but while I know it's understood I'm not really sure if these are definitive ways of talking about it for native speakers who are musicians.

What is the most commonly used way of talking about this in Spanish?

I'd really appreciate answers by people familiar with the ways musicians or aficionados would be talking about these rhythmic elements as I'd like a functional and natural way to do so myself with people involved in music composition & production.


Hay muchos estilos de música con ritmos de tambores que en inglés se llaman "breakbeats", "breaks", o más en general, "broken beats". Una vez le escuché a alguien describir un ritmo como "más quebrado" que otro, entonces "ritmos/latidos quebrados" me ocurre si fuera a adivinar y traduccir las palabras directamente del inglés. También he dicho "latidos rotos" y aunque yo sé que es entendido, no estoy seguro si estas sean las maneras definitivas de hablar del tema para músicos hispanohablantes.

Qué es la manera más usada para hablar de esto en español?

Agradezco mucho respuestas por gente acostumbrada a las maneras que hablarían los músicos o aficionados de estes elementos rítmicos porque me gustaría saber una manera funcional y natural de hablar con personas involucradas en la composición y producción de la música.

Breakbeats / broken beats: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-EUZhyI3cc

4/4 beat ("straight", not broken beat): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQnG9HlWok0

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    I can help a tiny bit -- stay away from "latido"! That's for hearbeats. // If no one helps with the main part soon, perhaps it would help to write down a sample rhythm and include a link to a segment of a recording. I'm pretty ignorant about electronic music styles and maybe others too. Sep 11 '18 at 6:16
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    I used to play drums and I never heard of them, but maybe you're looking for "síncopa" and "contratiempo" ?
    – FGSUZ
    Sep 11 '18 at 8:50
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    @Lambie You're specifically referring to sampling, and if you listen to the link I put up, those are all beats mostly just sampled directly from funk records. Those rhythms--not the technique of sampling--are what constitutes a "broken beat", which in itself is not a genre, but a style of drumming that is found in numerous genres. They aren't in 4/4 at all, listen to the 4/4 beat and the difference couldn't be more obvious. Sep 11 '18 at 19:09
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    @Mike I'm not talking about translating genres, I'm talking about musically describing the rhythmic difference between the type of beats found in link 1 versus link 2. In English it's common to say the beats in 1 are much more broken. Perhaps that doesn't translate, hence my question. Sep 11 '18 at 19:15
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    @Lambie Actually yes they do. If in your world they don't, maybe you could be helpful and offer some suggestion of how those drummers you know, who are probably playing more simplistic beats more like the 2nd link, would describe the difference between the two. See FGSUZ's comment for a practical suggestion. Sep 11 '18 at 19:23

I believe the words you are looking for are sincopa and contratiempo. If you take, as an example, the 4/4 tempo, basic music theory dictates that this figure will have the 1st and the 3rd beats as strong where 2nd and 4th as weak. But in the rhythms that you are referring two things happen.

Contratiempo: For example, in percussion instruments like drums, the player will put an accent on the weak beat giving this broken feeling. As an interesting note, in Spanish the hi-hat cymbals are called platillos de contratiempo because its main use is to mark the weak beats.

Síncopa: Mainly in not percussive instruments, when the sound starts in the weak beat but extend to the strong beat.

In the case of the rhythm it would be called, in general, as ritmo sincopado.

These points are just examples. Of course you can achieve both with either percussive and not percussive instruments. Also, the musical theory described here is not comprehensive because the main objective is the Spanish language. If you want to do deeper into the musical aspects I would recommend https://music.stackexchange.com/.

Creo que los términos que estás buscando son sincopa y contratiempo. Si tomamos como ejemplo el compás de 4/4, la teoría básica dice que el primer y tercer tiempos son los fuertes mientras que el segundo y el cuarto son los débiles. En los ritmos que refieres, hay dos cosas que estan sucediendo:

Contratiempo: En los instrumentos de percusión, por ejemplo, es cuando el ejecutante pone el acento en los tiempos débiles para dar este efecto de quebrado. Como nota interesante, los platillos hi-hat en español se llaman platillos de contratiempo porque se usan para marcar los tiempos débiles.

Síncopa: Especialmente en los instrumenos no pecusivos, cuando el sonido inicia en el tiempo débil pero se extende hasta el tiempo débil.

Para referirse al ritmo, podrías llamarlo, en general, como ritmo sincopado.

Los puntos descritos son solo ejemplos. desde luego es posible ejecutar las dos figuras descritas tanto con instrumentos de percusión como con no percusivos. Además, la teoría musical descrita es muy superficial puesto que el objetivo aquí es el lenguaje. Si quieres investigar más sobre teoría musical, te recomiendo https://music.stackexchange.com/.

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