What is a montuno?

A montuno or “piano montuno”  It's a type of salsa rhythm full of energy and vitality. It's often used in most danceable music and is all about getting people up and moving.

While the percussionists play primarily on the downbeats, the piano montuno is characterized by the "complement" or the "counterpart" of those, using syncopated rhythms and repetitive patterns. It's played with a lot of energy and passion, just like the dance styles it's associated with.

To play montunos with the right mindset, I like to follow and advice that Beethoven used to tell his colleagues: "To play wrong notes is insignificant. To play without passion is inexcusable". 

So to say, to play montunos, we shall focus more on the passionate and energetic aspect, rather than playing all the notes perfectly. People that worry too much about playing everything correctly end up compromising the flavor and spiciness of their playing. It's all about letting loose, feeling the beat, and just having a good time but always in integrity with three key elements:

  1. Chord Progression. 
  2. Appropriate style established by the percussionists.
  3. To Play on the correct side of the clave

The transformation of the clave