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Glossary

Term Definition
mambo a musical genre from Cuba and precursor to salsa; also referred to as montuno. The mambo was a dance style popular in New York City from the 1930s through the 1950s, and is strictly instrumental.

See mambo page for more detailed information.

maracas percussion musical instrument made of a gourd filled with pebbles or dried beans and mounted on handle; used in pairs

See the instruments page for more detailed information.

merengue the second part of the danza, consist of anywhere from 16 to 132 measures, but also refers to the a musical genre from the Dominican Republic but quite popular in Puerto Rico and throughout Latin America. Typically, it is accompanied by a small accordion, a two headed drum called the 'tambora', and a singer who plays the güiro, and has a syncopated duple meter.

See merengue page for more detailed information.

montuno a section of music, originating from Cuba and a precursor to salsa. It features a call and response between the lead singer and chorus; the piano often has a repeated "vamp" or musical line
nueva ola meaning "new wave", refers to a period in Puerto Rican popular music in the 1970's typified by folkloric elements. The best known exponents were Haciendo Punto en Otro Son, Danny Rivera, and Lucecita Benitez.
pachanga The 1960s incarnation of the chachachá, still played by the charanga bands. Its signature is a conga pattern called "caballo" (literally meaning "horse").
pandereta a small hand-held drum, similar to a tambourine, and used in folk music genres such as the plena
parranda lively holiday parties that stroll from house to house singing aguinaldos and usually accompanied by musical instruments
paseo the first part of the danza, which usually consisted of 8 measures, and lacked a rhythmic base but served as a tonal introduction
plena a musical genre developed in Puerto Rico; see complete description on plena page
requinto a musical instrument adapted from classical Spanish guitar
rumba there are several ways to describe rumba. It is a generic name for commercialized versions of guarachas, plenas and sons performed primarily for non-Latino audiences of the mid 20th century United States. In Cuba, it refers to a secular folkloric music and dance style (of African origin) as well as a kind of 'attitude'. Often these are accompanied by conga drums, claves, a lead singer and a chorus with call-and-response singing both in African and Spanish languages. For more detailed information, see the rumba page.

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