Merengue Rhythm with Maracas

The rhythm of venezuelan merengue is very specific, as it is only played in 5/8. To play this rhythm, it is necessary to play bars of 5 accents each:

  1. Both maracas accenting downwards
  2. Right hand accenting upwards
  3. Left hand accenting upwards
  4. Left hand accenting downwards
  5. Both maracas accenting upwards

First, we will demonstrate this at a low tempo:

To maintain yourself synchronized whilst observing the video, remember that both maracas accenting downwards marks the 1 in each bar.

In this second video, we will review how we can loosen things up a bit by playing the merengue caraqueño with the maracas. This genre can be played using many movements, but they must always be executing respecting the 5/8 and only playing 5 accents per bar.

Another variation of the merengue is played with the escobillao. This variation is rather simple to practice with your maracas. It can be done using the following movements:

  1. Escobillao right hand
  2. Upwards left hand
  3. Downwards left hand
  4. Escobillao right hand
  5. Downwards left hand

Ensure that you practice this repeatedly so that you can play the merengue caraqueño using these two variations. When you manage to master this, feel free to play other variations that you enjoy, always remembering that you need to maintain 5 accents per each bar.

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