Course: Learn to Play Parang with the cuatro

Picture of TuCuatro


The Second Parang genre we will learn is Merengue. The Merengue is basically the same as Aguinaldo but it is written as 5/8 strum.  That means there is no last strum. This rhythm is used mostly for Christmas carols and it is a little bit faster than Aguinaldo.

The Merengue Rhythm is used in songs like Soca Santa or Alegría Alegría.

The measure of a Merengue is composed of 5 strums where all 5 are played with the cuatro.  The Merengue will be as shown in the following diagram:

Rhythm of Merengue

As you can see, we will be playing 5 strums where our right hand will do:

  1. Frenado down
  2. Strum up
  3. Strum down
  4. Frenado up
  5. Strum down

Don’t worry if you are not able to do a frenado up, you could still do a strum up instead and the rhythm would maintain its form.

Here’s an example of Merengue applied to a song.  The cuatro player is Dominc Thompson:

Now let’s play this nice song together:

Here is a Soca song called “Soca Santa” using Merengue as the main rhythm:

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