1. The Clave & Cascara
- 1. 1Clave & Cascara Patterns10:00
2. Montuno Patterns
- 2. 1Arpeggio Drills For Montunos06:44
- 2. 2Montuno Patterns Introduction13:02
- 2. 3Enhancing Montunos08:42
- 2. 4Improvising Over Montunos07:58
3. Popular Cuban Grooves
- 3. 1Cha-Cha-Cha & Mambo10:11
- 3. 2Guajira & Guaracha Grooves08:38
4. Advanced Grooves & Techniques
- 4. 1Unstable Syncopations06:37
- 4. 2Changüí & Melodic Tumbao07:00
Learn to play Cuban piano styles with Latin Grammy nominee Elio Villafranca. We explore the clave, cascara, montuno patterns, mambo, cha-cha-cha, and more advanced Cuban grooves.
The Clave & Cascara
The clave and the cascara create the spine of Cuban music and we start this course with a detailed exploration of these 2 rhythms. We explore the construction and origins of these rhythmic patterns and outline a variety of drills and exercises for pianists who are new to Cuban piano.
Son Clave & Rumba Clave
The 2 forms of clave are ‘son clave’ and ‘rumba clave’. These 2 forms of clave are very similar except that the son clave starts on the 2-3 side of the clave, and the rumba clave starts on the 3-2 sides of the clave.
Arpeggio Drills For Montunos
We outline a range of exercises that are useful for students who have never played montunos or other Cuban piano styles. These exercises include chordal drills, arpeggio-based drills, and drills which contain both chordal elements and arpeggios.
The drills and exercises covered in this lesson can be used as a warm-up routine and the patterns can also be applied when improvising over montunos as we will explore later in this module.
Montuno Patterns For Beginnes
We explore the most common montuno patterns that we hear in Salsa and Cuban music from the early 1940s. Montuno patterns are an adaptation the role of the tres guitar in the earliest forms on son which are “changüí” and “nengón”.
This lesson includes explanation and visuals of the percussion instruments used in Cuban music. Understanding the role of the percussion instruments can help to shape and inform the way that we interpret and rhythms when playing Cuban music in a solo piano context.
Enhancing Montuno Patterns
In this lesson we demonstrate the application of the arpeggio and chordal drills outlined at the start of this course, and how these components can be applied to create interesting montuno patterns.
We explore right hand chordal techniques built from the 3rd, the 5th, and the 6th of each chord, and also how to create contrary motion between the right and left hand when playing montuno patterns.
Improvising Over Montuno Patterns
The basic form of the improvisation over montunos started within the cuban descargas in the 1950s by musicians such as Israel “Cachao” López who started exploring ideas on how to improvise over this music.
In this lesson we cover a wide range of improvisation devices that can be used when playing Cuban piano styles.
How To Play Cha-Cha-Cha
The Cha-Cha-Cha was invented by Enrique Jorrín in the late 1940s to the beginning of the 1950s. The Cha-Cha-Cha emerged from the mixture of Son and Danzón and has a very distinct rhythm and bass pattern.
We analysing the rhythmic elements of the Cha-Cha-Cha bass pattern and then introduce harmony and voicings.
How To Play Mambo
The Mambo was made popular in 1951 by the Cuban musician Pérez Prado. The Mambo groove has a distinct rhythmic pattern which also emerged from a mixture and marriage between Son and Danzón styles.
Guajira Grooves & Style
The Guajira style is known for its rhythmic complexity and distinctive rhythm. Guajira is usually based on the syncopated son and rumba clave patterns that we covered in the first lesson of this course. The rhythmic pulse from the clave patterns create the backbone of the Guajira style.
Changüí Grooves & Style
Like many forms of Cuban music, the spine of Changüí is the clave. Changüí montunos are highly syncopated through the use of off beat accents and cross rhythms.
Before attempting to play advanced Changüí grooves it’s important that you have fully mastered the clave rhythm and how this aligns and interacts with montuno patterns.