Role of the Piano in Cuban Music


I think the piano is the
most complete instrument. It is rhythm, melody, and harmony plus its construction is that
of a percussion instrument. For these and more reasons, it has always transcended as
the instrument par excellence. The piano can be used to play boleros, or to play ballads You can use the piano to play merengue a classic style from the Dominican Republic You can use it to play son,
like I demonstrated You can use it to play music including effects like harp You can also use it to play
percussive effects like this: The effects you create have a feel of percussion You have to know where to apply the piano and how you will use the piano If the piano is going to be inside a group playing dance music It will be heard rhythmically, harmonically and melodically Why? Because the tumbaos are going to have rhythms that
correspond to a harmony and melody But inside the tumbao there are times when the piano plays: At this moment the piano
is playing harmonically The piano can do this: At this moment it is playing harmonically but it is also playing
rhythmically with that figure I think that the important thing to know Is a question of the percussive utilization in the tumbao binding the melodic effects and the harmony because you can’t play tumbao
without thinking of the harmony You have to think in your mind
what kind of tumbao you will play, chords… or like Cuban montunos,
or like American swing For example I can play in Latin jazz
this take on A Train Here we combined the harmonic and rhythmic Inside the improvisation some
elements of jazz improvisation Other elements from Cuban
music improvisation All of this depends on the skill and
knowledge of the player Understanding the clave is very important for playing Cuban music or Latin jazz In Cuban son it is the internal clave that needs
to be internally developed and mastered You can have have a more open harmony You can add different tonalities
either richer or more simple

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