Merengue Music Project

Kevin Esslinger, Spanish II

Type of Music

The name of my favorite kind of music is merengue. It is known world-wide, but is most popular in the Dominican Republic, where it originated. Merengue has been to huge places like New York City including Madison Square Garden and all over Latin America. Some famous people involved in merengue include Fernando Villalona, Juan Luis Guerra, Eddy Herera, and Sergio Vargas. Merengue is associated with the instruments accordion, bass guitar, tambora (kind of drum), guitar, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, piano, congas, and tuba.

History of Merengue

Merengue originates in the mid 19th century in the Dominican Republic. Some evidence shows the first merengue song was written in 1844, as a satire to mock Thomas Torres who deserted his troops in the battle of Talanquera. This old type of Merengue mainly utilized string instruments. Once the accordion came out, it instantly became the primary instrument of mererngue music. Merengue is influenced mainly by salsa and rock and roll, while it's origins were influenced by Spanish, French, and African music.

Characteristics of Merengue

Merengue is fast-paced with a 2/4 beat. This fast-pace is helpful for the rhythm of the dance that accompanies the music. This dance uses the hips to create a two beat marching step. The main instruments used are the accordion, bass guitar, tambora (kind of drum), guitar, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, piano, congas, and tuba. The Merengue is the national music and dance of the Dominican Republic, and is therefore played throughout normal routine activities. Although men generally wear the standard button-down shirt and slacks, women change their outfits to fit the merengue style. This includes wearing tight, close-fitting and colorful dance outfits to fit the liveliness of the music. Some famous people involved in merengue include Fernando Villalona, Juan Luis Guerra, Eddy Herera, and Sergio Vargas. Although they may not be household names in the United States, they are very popular in Latin America.

Connection to dance

Merengue is actually it's own style of dance as well as music. Merengue dance is a two beat marching step which utilizes the hips. It works well with the 2/4 fast-paced merengue music. In this dance, partners hold each other in a closed position, although some variations in an open position are possible. This dance has a follower and a leader, and both of their hips move in the same direction throughout the whole song.

Merengue Today

Merengue is still popular in the Dominican Republic today. In addition to this, Merengue is a very popular style of music at nightclubs because of the fast pace, making it easy to dance to. To the people of the Dominican Republic, merengue is not just music; it is the heart and soul of the people. Because of the popularity of merengue not only in the Dominican Republic but also in Latin America and the United States, it is very likely merengue will have a very bright future.

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