“Cuatro de Puerto Rico” ……. our typical musical instrument!!

Cuatro de Puerto Rico ....... our typical musical instrument!!

The cuatro is the national instrument of Puerto Rico. It belongs to the lute family of string instruments, and is guitar-like in function, but with a shape closer to that of the violin. The cuatro of Puerto Rico has ten strings in five courses, tuned from low to high B3 B2♦E4 E3♦A3 A3♦D4 D4♦G4 G4. (note that the bottom two pairs are in octaves, while the top three pairs are tuned in unisons).


The cuatro is the most familiar of the three instruments which make up the Puerto Rican orquesta jibara (i.e., the cuatro, the tiple and the bordonua). A cuatro player is called a cuatrista.


Note that cuatro is a name also applied to a number of other somewhat differently -configured instruments, including the Venezuelan Cuatro, and some small Spanish instruments.


History: Very little is known about the exact origin of the Cuatro. However, most experts believe that the Cuatro has existed on the island in one form or another for about 400 years. The Spanish instrument that it is most closely related to is the vihuela poblana (also known as the Medieval/Renaissance guitar), which had 4 courses, 2 strings each for 8 strings in total as well as the Spanish Medieval/Renaissance 4 course and the Spanish Laúd, particularly in the Canary Islands.

There was a ‘cuatro antiguo’, which had 4 single strings, then 8 strings in 4 doubled courses, and then the modern cuatro with 5 double courses. Despite the name, however, the origins are not clear.


Types of Puerto Rican cuatros: There are three main types of cuatro: cuatro antiguo of 4 orders and 4 strings, the “Southern” cuatro of 4 orders and 8 strings, and the cuatro “moderno” of 5 orders and 10 strings.

The 4-string “cuatro antiguo”: This is the original Puerto Rican Cuatro. It was made from a single block of wood and used 4 gut strings. This instrument may have evolved from the Vihuela Poblana. It was used to mostly play Jibaro music.


The 8-string “Southern” cuatro: This Cuatro evolved from the old 4 string cuatro. It was made like a guitar and had 4 pairs of steel strings. It was used to play salon genres like the mazurka, danza, waltz, polka, etc.


The 10-string cuatro “moderno”: This cuatro evolved from the baroque era 10-string Bandurria and Laud from Spain. It is made from a single block of wood and it has 5 pairs of steel strings. It is the most common used today and is used to play jibaro music, salon genres, salsa, pop, rock, classical, jazz, and even American bluegrass and many more styles.

Source, for more information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuatro_(Puerto_Rico)


Charlie Rodriguez – Malagueña


Published on Jun 17, 2013

Presentación de Pedro Guzmán y su Jíbaro Jazz en Plaza Del Caribe, en concierto para los Padres, el viernes 14 de junio de 2013. Vídeo por Daniel Aranzamendi.


We ALL are ONE!!


We ALL are connected by MUSIC!!

This entry was posted in Equality and tagged by Dr. Rex. Bookmark the permalink.

About Dr. Rex

I'm originally from Puerto Rico. I was born in Santurce and raised in Rio Piedras. Have lived in Florida since 1999. I have a doctorate degree in Medicine; completed in 1976. My Internal Medicine specialty was completed in 1979. Worked for Puerto Rico's health system until 1985. At this time, I'm happily retired after working for the federal government for almost 28yrs. I want to offer any knowledge that I have to anyone "out there" who is interested. My views are liberal in almost every sense. My knowledge is "eclectic" - a bit of everything. Music and reading are my passion. Blogging has also become a very interesting endeavor. Metaphysical topics attract me. I'm interested in news reporting human issues like injustice, discrimination and abuse - the "wrongly" affected. My intention is to bring this knowledge to an understandable level and to help anyone in need. I'm open to questions and will answer them to the best of my ability. Currently working on an enterprise whose main mission will be to bring peoples of all walks of life together. To be one .... since we ALL are ONE!! The future looks bright and promising!!!

6 thoughts on ““Cuatro de Puerto Rico” ……. our typical musical instrument!!

  1. Pingback: Estamos en FACEBOOK | Sucesos

  2. Pingback: ¿Sabes afinar el Cuatro Puertorriqueño? | Sucesos

    • Hola Jose Luis …. no me he olvidado!! Tengo pendiente una asignacion. Tan pronto pueda voy a investigar sobre lo que me preguntas y tratare de hacer un “post”
      para el “blog”.
      Feliz Navidad y buen Año nuevo para ti y los tuyos.
      Gracias por la visita!! 🙂


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