Things to Know About Latin American Wedding Music

By | 20 October, 2022

Latin American wedding music is a genre that encompasses a wide range of styles, from the lively rhythms of salsa and merengue to the more subdued sounds of bolero and tango. While each Latin American country has its own unique musical traditions, there are also many commonalities between them. For instance, many Latin American wedding songs are based on a simple two or four-beat rhythmic pattern known as clave. This rhythmic framework provides the foundation for a wide range of syncopated rhythms, which in turn give the music its characteristic energy and drive. In addition to the clave, another key element of Latin American wedding music is the use of call-and-response patterns. This repetition of musical phrases helps to create a sense of community and togetherness among the guests, making the experience even more memorable and special.

Influence of salsa and merengue in Latin American wedding music

The music of Latin America is rich and varied, blending together a wide range of influences. Among the most popular genres are salsa and merengue, which often find their way into wedding celebrations. Both salsa and merengue originated in the Caribbean, and they share a number of similarities in terms of rhythm and tempo. However, they also have their own distinct style that sets them apart. Salsa is typically characterized by a fast-paced beat and energetic dance moves, while merengue is usually slower and more sensual. Latin American wedding music often includes both salsa and merengue, providing a lively soundtrack for the happy occasion. The two genres complement each other perfectly, creating an unforgettable atmosphere for all to enjoy.

Types of instruments played in Latin American wedding music

While the specific instruments used in Latin American music can vary depending on region, there are some that are commonly heard. Following are some of the instruments that you may see being played in a Latin American wedding:

Maraca – The maraca is a type of shaker instrument that is often used to provide rhythm. It is typically made from a gourd that has been dried and hollowed out and then filled with seeds or beads. The maraca is held in the hand and shaken to create a rattling sound. This sound can be used to keep rhythm or to punctuate other instruments. Maracas are often used in Latin American wedding music, and they have become increasingly popular in mainstream music as well.

Cuatro – The cuatro is a traditional stringed instrument from Puerto Rico. It has four strings and is typically played with a pick. The cuatro is used in a variety of music genres, including folk, pop, and classical. It is also a popular choice for solo performances. The cuatro is believed to have originated in Spain and was brought to Puerto Rico in the eighteenth century. Today, the cuatro is an important part of the music played at Latin American weddings.

Bongos – The bongos are a pair of small drums that are also commonly used in Latin American music. They are played by striking the head of the drum with the hands. The bongos were originally used in Cuban music styles such as son montuno, guaracha, and chachacha. However, they have since become popular in a variety of different genres including jazz, rock, and pop. The bongos have a unique sound that is created by the resonance of the drumheads and the wooden shell. This makes them an ideal choice for dance tracks in Latin American weddings.

Timbales – Timbales are a type of drum that originated in Cuba. They are typically made from metal, and they have a shallow, cylindrical shape. Timbales are played with sticks, and they are known for their sharp, piercing sound. In Cuba, timbales are often used in Cuban salsa music, and they play an important role in the country’s musical heritage. Timbales can also be found in other genres of music, including jazz and rock. Due to their versatility, timbales have become one of the most popular drums in the world and are prevalent in Latin American wedding music.

Cowbells – Cowbells are a type of percussion instrument that originated in Latin America. They are usually made from metal or wood, and they range in size from small handheld bells to large bells that are mounted on stands. Cowbells are often used in Latin American wedding music, and they can add a festive and energetic feel to the music. The bells can be played by hand, or they can be attached to an instrument such as a drum or a guitar. When played correctly, cowbells can provide a unique and lively sound that will enhance any wedding celebration.

Claves – Latin American wedding music would not be the same without claves. Claves are percussion instruments typically made from two thin pieces of wood that are struck together. They have a distinctive sound that can be easily recognized in many popular Latin American songs. In addition to being used as a musical instrument, claves are also often used as a prop in dances. For example, in the Latin American wedding dance, dancers use claves to keep time as they move around the stage. Claves are also commonly used in Cuban and Puerto Rican music. In Cuban music, claves are often played along with drums, providing a steady rhythm for the other instruments to follow.

Music is an important part of any wedding, and if you’re looking for something a little different, Latin American music might be a perfect choice. From upbeat cumbia to passionate tango, there are various genres that will set the dance floor on fire!


Follow Sounds and Colours: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Mixcloud / Soundcloud / Bandcamp

Subscribe to the Sounds and Colours Newsletter for regular updates, news and competitions bringing the best of Latin American culture direct to your Inbox.

Share: