Cuban music is considered one of the richest and most influential world music genres. Its highly rhythmical featuring West African and Spanish elements combined with Classical and Jazz textures. Ry Cooder and Cuban guitarist Juan de Marcos González presented Cuban music to the world with the Buena Vista Social Club, which became the umbrella term to describe Cuba's musical golden age between the 1930s and 1950s.
Jesús Hernández' Buena Vista Cuban Guitar Guidebook explores all of the essential concepts and techniques needed to play this romantic style. ”We're going to explore many different Cuban guitar styles made famous by The Buena Vista Social Club. Styles like the the Son, Son Montuno, the Guajira, Guaracha, and Cuban Bolero all have typical guitar parts, based on the Claves. Son music consists of many sub-styles and is a happy sounding style, used for dancing. The Guaracha has a strong and fixed rhythmic pattern. The Guajira is a more subtle Cuban country style.
We'll also play a romantic Cuban bolero and a Danzón, which is an elegant music and dance style. And finally, we'll learn to play a Cha Cha Chá. All of these guitar styles have a Tumbao, which is a rhythmic pattern based on the Claves rhythm. You'll learn how to get a solid grip on the different Tumbaos within each style.”
Jesús will teach you 14 concepts and techniques focused on the essential rhythmical and harmonic concepts of Cuban guitar. Son Claves 2-3, Son Claves 3-2, Son Neutral, Son 2-3, Son 3-2, Guitar Parts, Solo or Ensemble, Voicings for Son, Son Montuno Guajeo 2-3, Son Montuno Guajeo 3-2, Chord Positioning, Bass and Chords, Typical Breaks, Bolero Ornaments, and Picking & Strumming.
Applying all of the key concepts and techniques, Jesús will guide you through a series of original Cuban guitar performance studies. For each study, Jesús will demonstrate the performance and then break it down for you emphasizing the key concepts and techniques in play.
Peace - ”Here is an example of playing a song on the basis of a 2/3 clave, trying to look for subtlety and peace. In this case, I used melodies in sixth intervals and played them in a relaxed peaceful way.”
Guajira Son - ”Since the 1930s, the Guajira was popularized by the singer and guitarist Guillermo Portabales. He modified Guajira into an elegant style."
Son Montuno - ”Son Montuno is a sub-genre of Son Cubano and has its own type of Guajeo (typical Cuban ostinato melodies). It is one of the most important genres of Cuban popular music and perhaps one of the most flexible of all forms of Latin-American music. It is the foundation of many Cuban-based dance forms."
Son Montuno Rico - ”This is a song played in the Son Montuno groove and in a 2/3 clave. The Son Montuno is a sub-genre of Son Cubano. Many of the songs in the Cuban repertoire are played in the Son Montuno style."
Cha Cha Cha - ”Cha Cha Cha is a Cuban music genre created by Cuban composer and violinist Enrique Jorrín. This style was based on the rhythm of Danzón-Mambo, but with a different structural conception. This is a performance of how the guitar can play an accompaniment in a Cha Cha Cha ensemble."
Danzón - ”In this case, I play a song accompanied by a Danzón Rhythm, but not following the Danzón form. By the way; Danzón is the official musical genre and dance of Cuba."
Guaracha - ”The Guaracha is a genre of Cuban popular music of rapid tempo and comic or picaresque lyrics. In this case we see the different ways of playing Guaracha in a band; using strumming or other techniques.”
Cuban Bolero - ”Here we're using the charm of playing chords in Cuban Bolero rhythm. We're also using some accents, but always with subtlety! In the Cuban Bolero guitars have different roles. One of them (Guitarra Acompanante) plays just the rhythm. The solo guitar (Guitarra Prima) plays solos, mostly phrases. And the Guitarra Segunda is the one that plays chords with different voicings than the rhythmic guitar."
Cuban Tres - ”The Cuban Tres is a guitar-like three-course-chordophone. As far as we know it is originally from Cuba and has six strings. Its sound has become a defining characteristic of the Cuban Son. The Cuban Tres has a great importance in the musical culture of Cuba as Son Cubano music was initially played with this instrument. Later on the piano also became part of this music.”
All of the key examples and performance studies are tabbed and notated for your practice, reference and study purposes. You’ll also get Guitar Pro files so that you can play, loop and/or slow down the tab and notation as you work through the lessons.
Grab your guitar and let’s join The Buena Vista Social Club with Jesús Hernández! Manos a la obra!