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Lesson 2: Learning “Chacarera del Rancho”

Aim: What happens when you layer one rhythm on top of another?
Summary: Students learn to sing the song “Chacarera del Rancho” and dance the chacarera while exploring rhythmic layers.
Standards: National 1, 5, 7, 11
Vocabulary: chacarera, palmas, rhythmic layers

Sofía R. and Sofia T. Teach “Chacarera del Rancho”

“Chacarera del Rancho” Demonstration

Argentine Folk singers Sofía R. and Sofia T. teach the well-known Argentine Folk song and dance, “Chacarera del Rancho” along with Eric Kurimski, guitar.

Sing “Chacarera del Rancho”

  • Listen to “Chacarera del Rancho,” Track 27.
  • Learn the lyrics using “Chacarera del Rancho” pronunciation, Track 28.
  • Sing the chorus with “Chacarera del Rancho” chorus, Track 29. Note that the chorus and verse have the same melody; the only difference is the lyrics.

“Chacarera del Rancho”


Cuando chacareras comienzo a cantar
¿Cuál ha de ser, cuál ha de
Esta chacarera del rancho señor,
Claro que sí, claro si pues.

Dentro de mi rancho colgado un horcón
Tengo un violín, tengo un violín,
Es de algarrobo, también de mistol
Hecho por mí, hecho por mí.

Algo medio chico es mi rancho tal vez,
Para los dos, para los dos,
Ya me estoy haciendo cerquita al Salao
Uno mejor, uno mejor.


Yo le he hecho al rancho un alero especial,
Para bailar, para cantar,
Para darme el gusto y allí vidalear
De navidad a carnaval.

Un hornito e’ barro mortero y fogón
Tengo además, tengo además
Y a mi negra chura que sabe
Para que más, para que más.

Si alguna guagüita pudiera tener
Uy, que feliz! Uy, que feliz!
Pero como dicen que Dios proveerá
Ya ha de venir, ya ha de venir.




When I start singing chacareras
Which one should it be? Which one should it
Should it be Chacarera del Rancho?
Of course, of course.

Inside my shack hung on a pitchfork
I have a violin, I have a violin,
Made out of carob tree and mistol too.
I made it myself, I made it myself.

My shack is a bit small perhaps
For both of us, for both of us.
Now I am building, near El Salao,
One that is better, one that is better.


I have made special eaves for my shack
To dance, to sing
To give me pleasure, and to party there
From Christmas to Carnival.

A little clay oven, a mortar, and a fireplace
I have as well, I have as well,
And my chura girl who knows how to serve
Why more, why more.

If I could also have a baby,
Oh, how happy! Oh, how happy!
But as they say that “God will provide,”
It will come, soon it will come.


Explore Rhythmic Layers

  • Explain that the chacarera dance is based on two rhythms that are layered together: the bombo rhythm and the palmas rhythm.
  • Listen to the bombo rhythm, Track 30. It is played on a drum called the bombo legüero, one of the oldest instruments in the world.
  • Ask students to tap or speak along to the bombo rhythm. You can also use percussion instruments to play along.
  • Listen to the palmas rhythm, Track 31, which is usually clapped.
  • Ask students to clap along to the palmas rhythm.
  • Play “Chacarera del Rancho,” Track 27 again, and have students play the chacarera or palmas rhythm.

Dance the Chacarera

The chacarera is a dance from the state of Santiago del Estero and is celebrated as the rural counterpart to the more cosmopolitan tango. Male dancers circle around their respective female partners, enticing them with foot stomping (zapateo), while the females coyly swish their skirts and twirl about (zarandeo).

Traditionally, the chacarera is accompanied by a bombo legüero, guitar, and singer. The rhythm is characterized by the high- pitched sound of the mallet hitting the rim ofthe drum (“cha”), and the low-pitched sound of hitting the head of the drum (“koon”).

Learn the Chacarera
  • The chacarera is danced in pairs; partners face each other and maintain eye contact throughout the dance. The music is in 6/8 time, and has two strong beats in each measure (1 2 3 4 5 6). The dance movements fall on those two strong beats. Review the video for a demonstration. 
  • There are three movements. Movements 2 and 3 are performed back-to-back as a pair.
  • Movement 1: Avance y retroceso
    • Arms are lifted with slightly bent elbows, thumbs tap the palmas rhythm against the fingers.
    • Partners walk towards each other for two counts (one measure).
    • Partners retreat from each other for two counts (one measure).
  • Movement 2: Vuelta entera
    • Arms are lifted with slightly bent elbows; thumbs tap the palmas rhythm against the fingers.
    • Partners circle around each other for four counts (two measures).
  • Movement 3: Zapateo y zarandeo
    • On each strong beat (1 2 3 4 5 6), “caballeros” (“gentlemen”) tap their feet in place with their hands behind their back, and “damas” (“ladies”) swish their skirts.
A man and woman perform a dance move from the chacarera

Avance y retroces

(“forward and backward”)

A man and woman perform a dance move from the chacarera

Vuelta entera

(“full circle”)

A man and woman perform a dance move from the chacarera

Zapateo y zarandeo

(“footwork and swishing”)

Perform the Chacarera

Play “Chacarera del Rancho,” Track 27.

  • During the sung portions of the song, students perform the avance y retroceso and vuelta entera for a total of eight counts.
  • During the instrumental sections, students perform the zapateo y zarandeo.
  • During the body percussion solo section, invite students to improvise using their own body percussion or classroom instruments.

Create a Dance with Rhythmic Layers

Your students will work with partners to create their own dance rhythms using rhythmic layers on Compose Your Own Dance Rhythm (PDF). They can name their dance and can also create a dance movement that they teach to the class. More advanced students can use notation in this activity.


Las Manchas Del Sapo: How the Toad Got His Spots

The bilingual book Las Manchas Del Sapo: How the Toad Got His Spots by Marjorie E. Herrmann tells the tale of Luisito, a musical toad who is trying to join the birds dancing in the sky.

Book cover for Las Manchas Del Sapo depicting a bow-tied frog holding a straw hat and cane

Musical Word Wall

Add the words chacarera, palmas, and rhythmic layers to the Musical Word Wall.

Don't Forget

Image Credits

“Mate” by Derek Oyen is licensed by CC BY-NC 2.0.

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