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50 ESSENTIAL EXERCISE!

FOR LATN PIANC

Deneff

PRVATE LESSONS

By Peter Deneff

ISBN

G-7135-6MT4-1

HAI_LEONARD
I C O R F O R A T - | O N
7777 w. BLUEMOUND RD. P.O. Box 13819 MIL.WAUKEE, Wl 53213

Copyright 1997 by HAL LEONARD CORPORATION


International Copyright Secured All Rights Reserved
No part of this publication may be reproduced n any form
or by any means without the prior written perrnission of the Publisher.
Visit Ha! Leonard Online at
www.halleonard.com

Acknowledgments
I'd like to thank the following people who have been a great influence and
inspiraron to me. My parents, George V. Deneff, and Alkisti Deneff. My teachers,
Leaine Gibson and Mike Garson. Their incredible knowledge and wisdom contines to amaze and inspire me. My children, Gitana, George, and Sophia. They
are my greatest joy and my biggest fans. My wife, Diane Azzara. She contines to
believe in me and support my art (even though the rewards are often slim). I am
thankful that she is my wife, soulmate, and mother of my children. Besides that,
she actually thinks my jokes are funny...
Finally, I would like to dedicate this book to my father, George V. Deneff.
Although he is no longer among us, his wisdom contines to guide me.

PRVATE LESSONS

Contents
4

About the Author

Introduction

Single-Voice Montuno Exercises


.,
-

12

Variations of the Single-Voice Montuno Exercises Using Syncopation

21

Octave Montuno Exercises Grouped n Threes

40

Octave Montuno Exercises Harmonized n Tenths

56

Octave Montuno Exercises Grouped n Fours

76

Chromatic Exercises

79

Syncopated Octave Montuno Exercises

84

Syncopated Octave Montuno Exercise Played Chromatkally

85

Typical Latn Improvisational Technique

90

Based on a Cha-Cha Piano Rhythm

91

A Technique Common n Cuban Piano Playing

92

Listenng Guide

About the Author


Peter Deneff is a pianist, composer, arranger, and teacher at Musicians
Institute in Hollywood, California. He began playing piano at age three and started his formal training at age nine. His teachers have included classical pianist
Leaine Gibson and jazz pianist Mike Garson.
Peter is currently recording his new CD, Excursin, a spicy mixture of Latn
jazz and Middle Eastern styles, and is also performing, arranging, and doing studio work in the Los Angeles rea.

Introduction
Latn jazz and salsa are wonderfully intricate, challenging, and enjoyable
styles of music. Besides being harmonically interesting, they are quite complicated rhythmically and therefore require specialized technique from a performing
musician. Being a percussion-based style, salsa demands the same rhythmic ferocity and percussive touch from the pianist as it does from from the conga or timbale player. The syncopated rhythms of Latn music are not necessarily left up to
the player's discretion, however; in order for the ensemble to work properly, all
the players must understand their place within the detailed tapestry of the
rhythm.
Specifically, the pianist must be rhythmically and technically capable
enough to play "montunos/' which are distinctive rhythmic motives that serve as
a major driving forc in the Latin orchestra. There are technical challenges that
exist in the execution of montunos that are unique to salsathese include a heavy
reliance on the fifth finger (a finger that is naturally weak), because there is so
much octave playing.
This book is intended as a sort of Latin seque! to Charles Louis Hanon's The
Virtuoso Pianist in Sixty Exercises, a classic of piano literature that has been pushing pianists' technique to the limit for over ne hundred years. When this book is
mastered, you will be able to execute practically any Latin montuno pattern. The
exercises in this book are perfect for either the begirmer or the professional and
can even benefit pianists of other genres such as jazz or classical. They may be
practiced as quickly as they can be played cleanly and accurately. Some tips that I
like to keep in mind when practicing these exercises include the following:
Start very slowly, deliberately, and staccato. This builds articulation.
Use a metronome. The metronome will help you develop your sense of
time.
When you master an exercise at a given speed, increase the tempo
one notch on your metronome.
Keep your fingers curved.
Don't tense up.
Push yourself, but stop if it hurts!
These exercises should be learned in all twelve keys because it is important
to feel at ease anywhere on the keyboard. Also, you should try to play them in harmonic, melodic, and natural minor. Meanwhile, it is important to listen to great
Latn music in order to absorb the feeling of the musicsome of my favorite Latn
players are listed in the back of this book.
The main thing to remember is to have fun with these exercises, be creative,
and find new ways to incorprate these techniques into your music, Latin or not.
Last but not least, do not get discouraged. Technique doesn't happen overnight; it
may take weeks or even months to master some of these exercises. It will certainly take longer to master them in all keys. Pace yourself, and you will succeed in
mastering this book and be well on your way to becoming the next great Latin
pianist!
Happy playing,
Peter Deneff

Single-Voice Montuno Exercises

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43

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Played Chromatically

46
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47
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48
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49
= 60 - 120

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A Technique Common in
Cuban Piano Playing

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91

Listening Cuide
LATN JAZZ
TITO PUENTE
MICHEL CAMILO
CONZALO RUBALCAVA
HILTON RUIZ
CI OVAN NI HIDALGO
CARLOS "PATATO" VALDEZ
1RAKERE
PANCHO SNCHEZ
CHARLIE SEPULVEDA
ARTURO SANDUVAL
EDDIE PALMIERI
CLARE F I S C H E R
DANILO PREZ

SALSA
CELIA CRUZ
SCAR DELEON
RUBN BLADES
MARKANTHONY
LA INDIA

92