Learn to Play Latin Guitar

Published: 04th November 2008
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The difference between a regular, acoustic guitar and a Latin guitar is not all that widespread. An acoustic guitar is an evolution of the Latin guitar in many ways. When someone says they want to learn to play the Latin guitar, what they actually mean is they want to learn to play an original guitar from the Romantic era, or the Latin area of the world - namely Europe. The Middle East and parts of Africa have also used a guitar for centuries and it is hard to decipher where the modern guitar takes most of its form. However, the Latin guitar is still played in Central and South America. It is also still played in Spain, and used for such types of music as Flamenco.

The modern Latin guitar was enhanced and fully developed in Latin American countries, namely in Havana Cuba, where modern Latin guitar rhythms are rooted. Latin guitar often inspires dance and has been said to inspire silent meditation on an almost religious level. The reason, however, that many people want to learn to play the Latin guitar today is because the genre of music has something that other types of music cannot come close to matching - rhythm. The player has to be able to concentrate and play numerous rhythms at once and cross with other instruments that also add their own musical harmony.

In the traditional, Cuban sense, other rhythmic instruments, such as the congas, timbales, and other stringed instruments, always accompany the Latin guitar. Oftentimes, a piano or keyboard will join in the ensemble, which is how more modern contemporary Latin music is enjoyed. The Latin guitar, keeping to its namesake, uses what is called a clave, in order that the music produced falls within certain parameters. The clave is put together using a 3-2 progression and sometimes composed using other patterns. In full, a clave is a musical pattern held to the rhythm of two sticks that sort of lead the group as a composer might lead a symphony. While some improvisation is allowed, the group generally follows the beat of the clave coordinator.

When playing the Latin guitar, it is important that one understands how Latin music is held together, made up of a beginning, middle, and end, with a generally long introduction. In fact, many northern American listeners would say that the introduction is overly prolonged. But, for Latin music lovers, the introduction gives the listener a chance to become involved -letting the power of the music seep in and take over. The middle of the song is followed by a band that plays various chord progressions that intensify as the playing continues. The piece is then ended by playing something similar to the introduction, only shorter, and something that leads to a feeling of closure. All of these variables work together to create, hold, play, and end a piece of Latin music, even when played on the guitar.

For the best resource on how to Learn to Play Latin Guitar, read more at Learn and Master Guitar

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