The Puerto Rican Music

Instruments: Cuatro: History

A Site Dedicated to the Music of Puerto Rico

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          · Tuning
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The Cuatro (pronounced cooah-troh) is the best known of the three stringed instruments that originated in the island of Puerto Rico. The Puerto Rican Cuatro is thought to have have been conceived sometime in the late 18th century. The other two stringed instruments that have their origins in Puerto Rico are the tiple and the bordonúa.

The Puerto Rican Cuatro is thought to have been modeled by the Puerto Rican mountain folk known as jibaros after the Spanish vihuela poblana (also known as the Renaissance guitar) which was brought to the island by Spanish colonists during the 18th century. However, the exact origins of the cuatro in Puerto Rico are unknown


By the end of the 19th century (around 1875), the Puerto Rican cuatro had acquired 5 pairs of strings and the tuning configuration we know today.

Usually carved from solid blocks of laurel wood