Learn to Play Vals Tonada

In this opportunity we will explain the Vals Tonada. There are several variations of Waltz or Vals (as we will be referring to it from now on), the most popular of which being:

  • Vals Criollo
  • Vals Pasaje
  • Vals Tonada

There are several similarities between them, we will however be looking at them individually and the differences / similarities will become noticeable.

The rhythm of Vals Tonada consists of two strums followed by a silence in the third strum. This can be viewed within the illustration below:

Rhythm Vals Tonada

Ritmo Vals Tonada

From the illustration above and the video below, you can notice that the rhythm of Vals Tonada does not include a “chasquido” or “frenado”. There are simple strums and silences. This all comes together by playing with a constant tempo which you will be able to notice in the video demonstrations. The tempo is key here, which is why it is important to ensure that there is a consistent tempo and ensure that you practice slowly prior to increasing your speed of play.

Check out the video below on how the Vals Tonada is played and try to copy the rhythm on your own Cuatro. As always, start off without marking any chords and once you’ve gotten the hang of it you can start to introduce a number of chords slowly.

Vals Tonada

Within the next video, professor Luis Natera will explain the Vals Tonada in more detail. The demonstration he provides gives a good insight as to how the technicalities of the rhythm are to be played. He mentions that the most important form of playing this rhythm is using the index finger for downward motions and the thumb for the ascending motions. Make use of this video as an example as professor Natera gives a full demonstration.

Vals Tonada Explaination Luis Natera

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