Course: Learn to Play Parang with the cuatro



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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