How to Play a Keyboard Tejano Style

Written by david ferris
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How to Play a Keyboard Tejano Style
Tejano ferquently uses 3/4 waltz time. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Tejano is a genre of music that originated in Mexico and Texas. It combines European styles such as waltz and polka with Latin rhythms and instrumentation to produce lively, danceable songs. Accordion, bass, guitar and drums are typically Tejano instruments, but Tejano ensembles can include over a dozen performers. The best way to play keyboard in a Tejano style is to master the harmonies, melodies and rhythms that characterise the music.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Listen to Tejano music to familiarise yourself with the sound. As you listen, try to internalise its various musical components. Listen especially for keyboard or piano parts.

  2. 2

    Learn Tejano rhythmic structure. Typically, this is a 3/4 waltz or "oom-pah-pah" pattern (with the beat on the "oom"). Incorporate this structure into your playing.

  3. 3

    Play roots and fifths with your left hand. Roots and fifths give a song depth and texture and provide a harmony for the melody above.

  4. 4

    Learn some Tejano melodies. The range of tunes is as numerous as the number of Tejano songs in existence. Listen to singing by Lydia Mendoza or Selena, for example, to get a sense of Tejano melody, or play along to their music with the right hand.

  5. 5

    Practice combining these different musical elements in one fluid form. Start by practicing right and left hand parts separately, or tapping out the beat with your foot, and then harmonise them together. Play from memory, sheet music or along with Tejano recordings.

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