Merengues are quick arrangements with a 24-stroke. The traditional instrumentation of a conjunto típico (traditional group), the usual folk merengue group, is a diatonic accordion, a two-sided drum called tambora, held on the knees, and a güira. A güira is a percussion instrument that sounds like a maraca. It is a sheet of metal with small bumps (created with a hammer and nail), shaped into a cylinder and played with a rigid brush. The güira is constantly brushed on the beat with an “and-a” at certain times or played in more complex patterns that usually mark time. The Caballito rhythm or a quarter and two eighths are also common. The two-headed drum is played on one side with a stick syncope, and on the other side with the palm of the hand. Famous merengue artists and groups include Juan Luis Guerra, Wilfrido Vargas, Milly Quezada, Toño Rosario, Fernando Villalona, Los Hermanos Rosario, Bonny Cepeda, Johnny Ventura, Eddy Herrera, Sergio Vargas, Grupo Rana, Miriam Cruz, Las Chicas Del Can, Kinito Mendez, Jossie Esteban y la Patrulla 15, Pochy y su Cocoband, Cuco Valoy, Ramón Orlando, Alex Bueno,  The New York Band, Elvis Crespo, Olga Tañón, Gisselle and Grupomanía. An early genus with similarities with merengue is the carbine, which originated during the period of French occupation of the southern region of the territory of the current Dominican Republic. The name “Carabiné” derives from weapons called carbines (carabinier in French) that soldiers did not dare to leave when a dance came, dancing with them on their shoulders. From the French word was derived the Spanish name of the new rhythm, which strongly emphasized its pronunciation on the “e”. Merengue was developed in the mid-1800s and originally played with European stringed instruments (bandurria and guitar).
Years later, the stringed instruments were replaced by the accordion, which, along with the güira and tambora, corresponded to the instrumental structure of the typical merengue ensemble. This set with its three instruments represents the synthesis of the three cultures that made up the particularity of Dominican culture. The European influence is represented by the accordion, the African by the tambora, a two-headed drum, and the Taino or natives by the Güira. The musicians of Típico continued their innovations in their style in the second half of the twentieth century. Tatico Henríquez († 1976), considered the godfather of modern típico merengue, replaced the marimba with an electric bass and added a saxophone (it was used before, but rarely) to harmonize with the accordion. As a prolific composer, Tatico`s influence cannot be overstated: nationwide radio and television appearances brought his music to all parts of the country, leading to widespread imitation of his style and the spread of his compositions. Today, these works constitute the heart of the repertoire of every Típico musician. Other innovations from this period include the addition of the bass drum, now played by the Güirero with a pedal, a development attributed to Rafael Solano. Many of today`s best accordionists also began their careers during this period, including El Ciego de Nagua, Rafaelito Román, and Francisco Ulloa. Three main types of merengue are practiced today in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Merengue típico, usually called Perico Ripiao, is the oldest style commonly played.
The other two types are Merengue de Orquesta (Big Band Merengue) and Merengue de Guitarra (Guitar Merengue). During the reign of dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo from 1930 to 1961, merengue experienced a sudden rise in importance. Although he came from the south and not from Cibao, he came from a rural area and a lower-class family, so he decided that the rural style of Perico Ripiao should be the Dominican national symbol. He ordered that many merengues be composed in his honor. With titles such as “Literacy”, “Trujillo is great and immortal” and “Trujillo the great architect”, these songs describe his virtues and praise his contributions to the country. Trujillo`s interest and encouragement for merengue helped create a place for music on the radio and in respectable ballrooms. Luis Alberti and other musicians began to play with “big band” or orquesta instrumentation, replacing the accordion with a brass section and initiating a split between this new, mainly urban style and the mainly rural Perico Ripiao. New York City Latino Radio is still dominated by Orquesta Merengue.  Merengue has been heard in New York since the 1930s, when Eduardo Brito was the first to sing Dominican national music there before touring Spain. Born in Salcedo, trained in Juilliard, Rafael Petitón Guzmán founded the first group led by the Dominican Republic with his Orquesta Lira Dominicana, which played in every popular ballroom in the 1930s and 1940s, while Angel Viloria simultaneously played popular accordion melodies for Big Apple fans with his “conjunto típico cibaeño”. But it wasn`t until the mass migration of Dominicans in the 1960s and 1970s that music reached a mass audience. In 1967, Joseíto Mateo, Alberto Beltrán and Primitivo Santos brought merengue to Madison Square Garden for the first time. Later, New York groups such as La Gran Manzana and Milly, Jocelyn y los Vecinos, an unusual group to be led by women, gained followers both in the diaspora and on the island.
The crown shows the beaten bride in this merengue inflated with a wedding dress. During this decade, several composers, including Julio Alberto Hernández, Juan Espínola de La Vega and Juan Francisco García de Santiago, attempted to revive dance by creating orchestrated and written scores based on merengue folk melodies. One of them was García`s 1918 work entitled “Ecos del Cibao”. The composer Luis Alberti later reported that such pieces, especially the famous melody Juangomero, were often performed at the end of an evening program that included otherwise imported styles such as waltzes, mazurkas, polkas, danzas, danzones, and single and double tenses. Merengue music found a dominant presence in other parts of Latin America in the 1970s and 80s, peaking in the 1990s. In Andean countries like Peru and Chile, merengue dancing lost the quality of being danced close to each other, instead, it was danced separately while the arms were moved.  After his election, Trujillo ordered musicians to compose and perform many merengues in which he praised his alleged virtues and his attraction to women. Luis Alberti and other popular conductors created a merengue style more acceptable to the urban middle class by making its instrumentation more similar to the big bands popular in the United States at the time, replacing the accordion with a large brass section, but keeping the tambora and güira as the rhythmic base.