John learned the Puerto Rican tune “La Arboleda” from a recording of cuatro player Pedro Padilla. It has three parts, the first in A minor, second in C major/A minor, and third in A major, and the form is AABBACCA, a fairly common form for ragtime tunes and Brazilian choros, among other kinds of music. The notes of the melody are relatively simple, made up primarily of the notes of the chords, but the rhythm of the melody is syncopated and somewhat tricky. John talks about the importance of keeping the pulse in your picking hand, continuing to move it in a steady eighth-note motion, even though the phrases are syncopated. He shows you the melody and rhythm of each phrase separately, walking you through the A part in this video.
"La Arboleda" (Available to subscribers)