The Puerto Rican Cuatro

Since: May 10

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#1 May 6, 2013
The Puerto Rican Cuatro


The cuatro is the national instrument of Puerto Rico. It belongs to the lute family of string instruments. The cuatro of Puerto Rico has ten strings in five courses, tuned from low to high B-e-a-d'-g', 54321, with B and E in octaves and A, D and G in unisons.[1] A cuatro player is called a cuatrista.

yezenia cruz, soy la cancion campesina
http://www.youtube.com/watch...

Since: May 10

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#2 May 6, 2013
Cuatro

Foto of cuatro "antiguo" Courtesy of the Puerto Rican Cuatro ProjectAs the Spanish colonized the islands of the Caribbean they brought many things, including musical instruments. Guitars were very popular and as time passed several new variants developed. At least four different instruments were adapted from the six-string Spanish classical guitar: the requinto, the bordonua, the cuatro, and the triple, each of which produces a unique tone and pitch.

Unique to Puerto Rico, and the one for which greatest number of adaptations and compositions have been written, is the cuatro, a guitar-like instrument. Originally the cuatro had only four strings and was similar to the vihuela. However around 1875, it was changed to five sets of double strings. The name 'cuatro'(translated as 'four') comes from the early, 4 string version which is known as the 'cuatro antiguo'. It happens that the tuning of the modern cuatro is in variables of half-octaves (that is, fourths). Thus, it is tuned from low to high B E A D G, with the B and E in octaves.

Usually carved from solid blocks of laurel wood and known for resonances and pitches different from those produced by its Spanish counterpart, this instruments graceful baroque body has been revered for decades as the national instrument of Puerto Rico. It is matte finished for protection without sacrificing tone to a heavy varnish. The instrument is sort of violin-shaped, more rounded like a guitar but with points at the inner bouts like a violin. The bridge is a classic guitar type, but the instrument is steel strung.

It is played with a flatpick and sounds like a cross between a 12-string guitar and a mandolin. In this example, the cuatro is used to play an instrumental version of the lovely ballad Obsesión composed by Pedro Flores.

The cuatro was the instrument of the jibaro, rural farmers, and also the name of the music they played on cuatros and guitars and güiros. It also was used to sing aguinaldos, the Puerto Rican Christmas songs, from house to house.

As William Cumpiano, of the Puerto Rican Cuatro Project, so aptly put it, "The cuatro holds a central place in Puerto Rico's cultural iconography, like the bagpipe for the Scot or the harp for the Irish. For many Puerto Ricans, the cuatro represents Puerto Rico. It has inspired its secular and religious festivities, and has provided a anchor for its cultural identity."

http://www.musicofpuertorico.com/index.php/in...

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#3 May 7, 2013
Yu don't need an amplifier with little powerhouse!

“I love being a Black Man”

Level 8

Since: Nov 09

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#4 May 7, 2013
Thanks.

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#5 May 7, 2013
Edwin Colon Zayas

Edwin Colon Zayas is known internationally as the master of the cuatro, the national instrument of Puerto Rico. The cuatro, shaped like a small guitar with five double-coursed strings, became the preferred instrument for performing musica jibara (music of the peasants), heard in the small central-island towns of Puerto Rico.

Colon Zayas began playing cuatro at the age of five, learning from his father. He in turn tutored his brother and two sisters in several jibaro instruments, and they often join him in his group Edwin Colon y su Taller Campesino.

Today, Colon Zayas is recognized as an innovative improviser on the cuatro and, in addition to 17 solo albums, has performed on, arranged, or directed more than 250 recordings for Puerto Rican artists. His collaborations have incorporated classical music, South American and Latin popular music, and jazz.

In 1991, he performed in the inaugural concert of the San Juan Pops Orchestra and participated in the International Guitar Festival held in San Juan. The year 2008 brought him a Grammy nomination for his album Reafirmacion in the Mejor Produccion Discografica de Musica Tradicional Tropical. Even though he has performed with Latin stars such as Marc Anthony and Carlos Vives, he remains committed to the cuatro makers and musicians of the Puerto Rican inland hills.

Colon Zayas feels that the love of the music starts with the love of the cuatro, saying, "I have a sentimental bond with the instrument. Apart from my family, my parents, my wife, my daughters, that I love so much, my instrument has a special place in my life."

http://www.festivaldelcuatro.org/performers.h...

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#6 May 8, 2013
Prodigio Claudio interpreta Tico tico con Cuatro Son

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#7 May 8, 2013

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#8 May 8, 2013
CHUITO Y MASO RIVERA parranda
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#9 May 8, 2013
Puerto Rican Cuatro or Cuatro Aviolinado for Irish tunes/backing

Puerto Rican Cuatro or Cuatro Aviolinado for Irish tunes/backing

All vulcan arse flutery aside - The PR Cuatro is a 10 string 5 course instrument with a scale length of about 20.5’ roughly the same as some octave mandolins… I’ve thought about getting one of them for years and just got one yesterday. it’s traditionally tuned BEADG (4ths all the way up)

I had every intention of ripping the strings off and tuning it DADAE - but didn’t have the strings yet so I just dropped the lower two courses putting it in ADADG and really found alot of useful advantages to the tuning - I can play tunes to speed or zouk styled tune backing easily on it. A lot of sound for a smaller instrument - as an aside it’s a fun little instrument to have.

# Posted by b.maloney 10 months ago.

Re: Puerto Rican Cuatro or Cuatro Aviolinado for Irish tunes/backing

also you don’t need to go up the neck for high a & g notes. everything is right under the 5th fret and plenty of chances to let some notes ring or you can play it in a more closed style.

http://thesession.org/discussions/30102

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#10 May 10, 2013
Cuatro Puertorriqueño-Charlie Rodriguez-"Malagueña "-2003


Cuatrista Christian Nieves
http://www.youtube.com/watch...

Cuatro jam between Danny and Gabriel!!
http://www.topix.com/forum/afam/TM1VSL80H96OJ...

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