Music Latin

Music of Latin America By Caleb Vinson


Latin Music

Transcript of Music Latin

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Music of Latin America

By Caleb Vinson

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Latin American Music in General

• Latin American Music, deriving from a region of the World that is complicated ethnographically, is itself complicated by the mixture of influences from the enforced mixture of races, religions and patterns of cultural development from pre-Columbian times to the present.

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Pre-Columbian Cultures

• Primitive musical instincts expressed in singing and rhythmic stamping. Manufacture of drums made of hollow tree trunks and covered with animal skins; scratchers made of notched fruit shells; and shakers, or gourds with dry seed inside. Production of vertical flutes and panpipes made of baked clay, and sometimes of animal and even human bones. Formation of the pentatonic scale, symbolizing the five digits of the hand.

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Pre-Columbian Cultures• Pre-Columbian Cultures time period prior to

conquest c.1500 A.D. Pre-Columbian Cultures has expression primitive musical instincts Pre-Columbian Cultures used singing Pre-Columbian Cultures used rhythmic stamping Pre-Columbian Cultures used primitive drums Pre-Columbian Cultures used scratchers Pre-Columbian Cultures used shakers Pre-Columbian Cultures used 5-tone pentatonic scale

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Picture of Pre-Columbian Instruments

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Early Centuries of the Conquest• The first native festival heard by Europeans, given by

Queen Anacaona in Santo Domingo in 1520. Church music carried by the Jesuits to the natives of South America. Determined efforts of colonial authorities to suppress indigenous music, with forcible destruction of drums and other Indian instruments. Gradual amalgamation of native and European rhythms and melodies into new distinctive Latin American forms. Extension of the pentatonic scale to the heptatonic, symmetrization of musical phrases, and introduction of traditional European harmony into popular music of Latin America. Infusion of African rhythms consequent upon the importation of (Black African) slaves.

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• EARLY CENTURIES OF THE CONQUEST - The first native festival heard by Europeans in Santo Domingo in 1520. Church music carried by the Jesuits to the natives of South America. Determined efforts of colonial authorities to suppress indigenous music.A text summary of the clickable map above, meant for web-crawlers and other automatic tools: Early Centuries of the Conquest refers to Latin America Early Centuries of the Conquest has element Europeans in Santo Domingo Early Centuries of the Conquest has period 1492-1750 Early Centuries of the Conquest has aspect suppression of native music Early Centuries of the Conquest evolution of Latin American Music

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Foundation of National Cultures

• Foundation of conservatories and music schools. Immigration of Italian and other foreign musicians to South America. Composition of national anthems, after the War of Independence.


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Modern Era of Latin American Music

• Establishment of opera houses in the principal centers. Organization of symphonic ensembles under the direction of native and foreign musicians. Foundation of music publishing firms. Government subsidies for musical education. Music festivals and prize contests for composers. Emergence of native creative composers who combine in their music a deep racial and national consciousness with modern technique. Inclusion of Latin America into the commonwealth of universal musical culture on equal terms with the great schools of composition of Europe and North America.

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• Of the 20 republics that constitute the area each has a vastly different style of music. For purposes of simplicity we will only look distinctly at a few areas and styles:Primitive, Cuban, Other Dances, Symphonic, Notable Composers

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Primitives• Primitive music of Latin America, like primitive music in other parts

of the World, was performed on instruments made from objects readily available in the environment of the musician. Jaguar claws, animal and human bones and specially treated inflated eyes of tigers are examples of objects which have served as percussion instruments from the South American Jungle."Jesus Castillo of Guatemala contends that the Indians of Central America have been influenced in their folk songs by the amazingly vocal and musically articulate native bird, the Cenzontle, of the thrush family, which sings melodies based on the major arpeggio. He cites examples of these bird melodies which he had noted down from a Cenzontle in captivity, and compares them to the tunes of popular Indian songs and dances, proving, to his satisfaction, that the Indians use the musical "technique of the birds.”

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The Song of the Bird

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• pre-Columbian Indians was not always monodic (monophonic.) The suggestion of harmonized melodies is present in some regions of South America. For example, "The Memby flutes of the Guarany Indians were built in different sizes calculated to produce perfect fifths and octaves when played together. Playing in fifths and octaves is also common among the Indians of Colombia."

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Cuba• Cuban music combines two primary racial strains to produce Cuban

popular music, Spanish and African. Aboriginal Indians are practically extinct from the island of Cuba and the pentatonic melodies of their music have disappeared with them. "The Spanish element is strong in the rustic airs of the interior, while the (Black African) influence is felt in the city songs. The Spanish rhythms are characterized by the combined six-eight and three-four time, while the Afro-Cuban type is marked by syncopation in two-four time."4 There is a great divergence in rhythmic interpretations between the "folk" musicians of the interior of Cuba and the professional musicians that play in the cafes in Havana. Emilio Grenet has transcribed two versions of the popular song, Mama Inez as it is performed in the country (straight) and as it is performed in the city version (syncopated).

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Mama Inez Non-Syncopated and Syncopated

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The Cuban Style • The Cuban style is based on rhythm and thus the

primary cuban instruments are claves, maracas, calabasha and the Conga drum.

• Cuban style includes dances such as the Habanera, Guajira, Guaracha, Punto, Rumba, Conga, Son Afro-Cubano, Bolero-Son and Mambo.


• Ernesto LecuonaCaturla, Roig

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• Tango• A dance that evolved in Buenos Aires at the end of the

19th century, the tango is probably derived from the milonga, a lively, suggestive Argentinian dance, and the habanera of Cuba and the West Indies. By the 1920s it had become a popular ballroom dance in Europe and the United States, and had been transformed into a flowing, elegant series of steps accompanied by somewhat melancholy music with a characteristic tango beat.


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• The modern samba that emerged at the beginning of the 20th century is basically 2/4 tempo varied with the conscious use of chorus sung to the sound of palms and batucada rhythm, adding one or more parts or stanzas of declaratory verses. Traditionally, the samba is played by strings.

•• The Girl from Ipanema - Jobim

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Symphonic Latin American Music

• Latin American symphonic music is a convergence of the conventions of western art music with the dance styles and complex rhythms of the Latin dance.

• The genres are orchestrated dances or a tapestry of styles known as the Danzon.

• Danzon no. 2

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Notable Composers

• Arturo Marquez (Danzon no. 2)• Hector Villa-Lobos [Brazil] (Piano Concerto no.


• Alberto Ginastera [Argentina] (Danzas Argentinas, Op. 2: No. 3. Danza del Gaucho Matrero)