The Teodoro Vidal Collection


ID# 1997.0097.1082

The modern cuatro is a five double-string guitar-like instrument used to play música jíbara, Puerto Rican country music. In this unusual example, the dried, woody fruit of the higüero tree, a material more commonly used in the fabrication of maracas or güiros, comprises the main body of the instrument. The archaic cuatro had only four strings (sometimes doubled), like the example here. In the early 20th century, Puerto Rican musicians on the northern part of the island revamped the cuatro and added up to six more metal strings to allow for heightened virtuosity.



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