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The Music of Mexico

Mexico has an abundance of folkloric music

which traces its heritage to pre-conquest

times.   Music was a highly developed art

form in the Aztec culture, with the ruling

classes patronizing composers, poets and

musicians.  Aztec nobility employed

instrumental musicians as tutors of their

young.  The dynamic and virile music of the

Aztecs was an integral part of religious as well

as secular life.  While most music was

composed to express religious sentiment,

it was also very important for personal

enjoyment.  Whenever an individual traveled

alone, he always carried an instrument

to play and enjoy.  Aztec musical instruments

consisted of drums, flutes, sea shells, whistles, gourds, bells and shell tinklers.

Although there are very few remnants of indigenous music, the extant examples give us a view of its originality, dynamism and beauty.  Mexican songs are rich and varied with the primitive music of Mexico surpassing many a modern composition in the poetic imagery of its lyrics.  Religious music, written in Spanish is traditionally liturgical.  The secular dance music (sones, jarabes and huapangos) is bright and vivacious.  The corridos (ballads of romance) recount the swashbuckling times of the revolution and the romances of 19th century Mexico.  The corridos reveal the multifaceted ethos of the Mexican people, running the gamut from comedy to pathos, satire to social commentary.  The traditional love songs can be divided into two types; the “rancheras” (simple, yet vigorous) and the more sentimental ballads.  The early 20th century songs dealing with the revolution capture that epoch’s demand for social change.

Source: Multicultural Awareness for the Classroom: The Mexicans,1980.

See if you can recognize the distinctive instruments, rhythms and sounds of each type of music below. ENJOY!:

  1. 1.Son    2. Jarabe     3.Huapango      4. Corridos      5.Rancheras      

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