Learn to Play Parang with the cuatro

Learn how to play the different strums of Parang with your Venezuelan Cuatro. Learn Cuatro songs to play during the parang festivals.
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Parang is an important part of Trinidad and Tobago cultural heritage.  It is a genre normally used at Christmas time. The “Paranderos” used to go from house to house to play serenades for family and friends at their houses. This tradition stills goes on in some parts of Trinidad and normally occurs from October to January every year.

To play it you just need a Cuatro and the information that we will share with you in this course.  During the course we will teach you the rhythms, chords and techniques you’ll need to play this popular folk music which takes full advantage of the Cuatro, Maracas and other instruments.

Parang consists of a wonderful mix of genres and songs. We will study all of them during this course.  Some of them you already recognize by their names:

  • Aguinaldo
  • Estribillo
  • Rio Manzanares
  • Joropo
  • Galerón
  • Despedida

We will study how to execute these rhythms so you can easily play any song you like and understand the rhythm, as well as the progressions behind them.  To give you an example, Aguinaldo is always played in measures of 6 strums where the last strum is muted. In comparision, Joropo too is played with 6 strums but all 6 of them are played.  We will explore this in more detail and you will be able to master this theory and execution as you progress through this course.

After we study rhythms and progressions we will start learning some songs like Trin Christmas is De Bess or Alegría Alegría and you will be able to take out your Cuatro and play them!

We will also study a more modern genre called “Soca Parang“. A fusión of Soca and Parang with lyrics in English.

Let´s then start learning this popular rhythm:

If you don’t have a cuatro, we can send you one!

Raul Landaeta and Adrian Toro

Master Raul Landaeta and Cuatro player Adrian Toro present this course with all the essential information about the Parang Genre. They will guide you through the most basic rhythms you need to know to play the Parang and show you the basic melodies and progressions used in Parang songs.

Raul Landaeta studied Cuatro with Fredy Reyna in Caracas and has appeared on a number of stages worldwide. He’s residing in Trinidad and Tobago and actively engages in Parang activities, giving private courses and classes, masterclasses, and concerts on the island.

Adrian Toro has studied Cuatro with master Jorge Glem in Caracas since 2011 and has been the mind behind TuCuatro, a website that helps thousands of students learn the instrument they love. Adrian was born in Caracas and currently resides in Ottawa, Canada where he’s been engaged in internationalizing the instrument.