An instrument of the guitar family, found in South America and the West Indies. Its 15th century predecessor was the Portuguese Cavaquinho, which, like the cuatro has four strings. The cuatro is widely used in ensembles in Columbia, Jamaica, Mexico, and Surinam to accompany singing and dancing. In Trinidad it accompanies calypso singers. In Puerto Rico and Venezuela the cuatro is used as an ensemble instrument for both secular and religious music. Courtesy of New Grove DMI © 1995.