By Mathew Diaz

What is the name of your music genre?

The name of my music genre is called Merengue. Merengue is sometimes called the national dance of the Dominican Republic. Its name is Spanish from meringue, a dessert made from whipped egg whites and sugar, probably from the movement on the dance floor that reminiscent of an egg beater in action.

Where is it played, listened and or danced to most commonly.

The Dominican Republic but is listened to in most major cities in The U.S and played in all of latin America.

Who are the people associated with this type of music

This style of music was created by Ñico Lora, a Dominican of Spanish descent, in the 1920s, and promoted by Rafael Trujillo, the Dominican Republic dictator from the 1930s through the early 1960s, becoming the country’s national music and dance style. It was popularized in the United States by Angel Viloria and his band Conjunto Típico Cibaeñ

What is the origin of the genre?

It originated in the Dominican Republic because people wanted to get crunk. late 19th century: probably American Spanish; compare perhaps with the sense ‘upheaval, disorder,’ attested in Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

What are other musical influences of the genre?

Influenced by West African and European (mainly Spanish) traditions, with some minor native Taino influences.

What are the major characteristics of the music in this genre?

Merengues are fast arrangements with a 2/4 beat. The traditional instrumentation for a conjunto típico (traditional band), the usual performing group of folk merengue, is a diatonic accordion, a two sided drum held on the lap called a tambora, and a güira (a percussion instrument, sounding like a maraca, which is a sheet of metal perforated with a nail, shaped into a cylinder, and played with a stiff brush). The güira is brushed steadily on the downbeat with a "and-a" thrown in at certain points, or played in more complex patterns to mark time. "Caballito" rhythm, or a quarter and two eighths, is also common. The double headed drum is played on one side with a stick syncopation, and on the other side with the palm of the hand. The traditional (some say fundamental) signature rhythm figure of merengue is the quintillo, a syncopated motif whose pattern is broken by five successive drum head hits at the transition between every second and third beat, alternating between the hand and the stick. To purists, quintillo is essential to merengue, a viewpoint that has gradually fallen into disuse, as alternate figures have gained popularity (particularly "jaleo," also known as "merengue bomba").

What are the main instruments, vocals or arrangements?

Tambora, Guira, doubled headed drums.

What social, cultural events or traditions is the music associated with?

All major parties. There is no such thing as a Dominican party without Merengue or bachata; often even both at the same party.

Are there special costumes associated with the music?

You can wear what ever you want but they do have special costumes. The costumes are just what you’d expect. They are often colorful and frilly or, if in a ballroom setting, sleeker more conservative colors.

Who are some of the most famous artists associated with the music?

Just to name a few.

Juan Luis Guerra


Ramón Orlando

Chichi Peralta - Winner of Latin Grammy Awards of 2001 for merengue album.

Geovanny Polanco

El Prodigio

Milly Quezada - Winner in the Latin Grammy Awards of 2003, dubbed "Queen of Merengue."

Raul Roman

Toño Rosario

Francisco Ulloa

Cuco Valoy

Sergio Vargas

Wilfrido Vargas

Johnny Ventura - Winner of Latin Grammy Awards of 2004 for merengue album.

Fernando Villalona

What dances, if any, are associated with this music?

Fast, rompy, dancing that look really cool and go with the music.

What are the characteristics of the dances?

I will demonstrate

Who, what and where is the music associated with today?

The Dominican Republic major cities and more.

What is the projected future of this music?

Its always going to be cool but hopefully it will spread to other countries and enjoyed by everyone.

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