Cuatro Genres & Rhythm

The Cuatro is used in many South American countries like Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, Chile, Trinidad u0026amp; Tobago and Aruba, so you have a lot of repertoires to choose from when playing the cuatro.

We will give you a brief introduction of the Genres that are played with the Cuatro, which rhythm to use when playing each one of them and how do they differ of the typical 4/4 world music (pop, rock, etc)

Say goodbye to the 4/4 pattern

One of the main differences between the cuatro and ukulele is that almost all of the music genres are played in a 3/4 or 6/8 pattern, this makes the music very interesting and of course, it becomes a challenge to count in 6 instead of 4, as you would normally do.

This difference is noticeable in rhythms like Waltz, which first came to South America in the colonization era and was slowly transformed during the decades into new music genres, like the pasaje, joropo, and Tonada, with all of them sharing the same waltz roots.

There’s even a music genre that is played in 5/8! very challenging even for professional musicians…

Vals (Waltz)Vals Criollo 
Tonada (Waltz)Vals Tonada 
Pasaje (Faster Waltz)Pasaje 
Joropo LlaneroJoropo Llanero 
Joropo CentralJoropo Central 
MerengueMerengue 
Pop / Rock / Samba / Reggae / EtcRock 

Download this table in a printer-friendly format (PDF):

Cuatro Rhythms (PDF file)

Some examples on how the Cuatro sounds

Here’s another example

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