Most people love Merengue. This is a Latin American delight, great to listen to, wonderful to dance and enjoy. With artists from around the world and inspiring countless musicians, the music has taken off and has even had versions of hip-hop with groups such as Proyecto Uno and Sandy & Papo (for those of you who love the classics and if you don’t definitely check them out on YouTube). The Merengue we will be looking at is slightly different, this is just to get expectations straight. Still a flowing and fantastic genre, take a look at the following two videos, one of them is an interpretation of the song El Norte Es Quimera by a band and the other a soloist version on the Cuatro:
Great stuff! Not to worry, as you progress we will come back to this song and help you learn how to play it on your Cuatro! Just like other genres if follows a specific rhythm and the merengue we will be looking into is the Merengue Venezolano or Venezuelan Merengue. This rhythm is composed with keeping the following pattern:
The pattern is as follows:
The complication with this rhythm is the fact that you start with a downward motion and you also end it with a downward motion. Regardless of whether this is a frenado or a regular strum, it is rather unnatural when considering an ordered group of motions. We are typically used to strumming in a continuous up – down – up – down way and here we are beginning to break the pattern. It is very important to practice this individually, so if you are still working on another rhythm, be sure to round that off prior to moving into this because of the confusion. Once you have mastered the genres you are looking at, then you will find that it is easy to switch from one to another. Take a look at the video below on how to play the Venezuelan Merengue, remember, this is something that you can practice with the progression of I – IV – V of any of the notes that we have seen, for example you can try it with the E major tonic, dominant and subdominant.