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The Garland Handbook of Latin American Music. Part Three: Nations and Musical Traditions, Middle Latin America, Guatemala. Overview. Cultural Heritage Indigenous Mayan musical life documented by both Maya and Spanish Ancient Mayan texts Los Anales de los Cakchiqueles, and the Popol Vuh

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the garland handbook of latin american music

The Garland Handbook of Latin American Music

Part Three: Nations and Musical Traditions, Middle Latin America, Guatemala

overview
Overview
  • Cultural Heritage
    • Indigenous
      • Mayan musical life documented by both Maya and Spanish
        • Ancient Mayan texts
          • Los Anales de los Cakchiqueles, and the Popol Vuh
      • Music and certain instruments linked with sacred
        • Significant in ritual life, and thought to contain power
          • As with other indigenous groups in Lat/Am
      • Ancient Mayan beliefs inform contemporary cultural traditions
        • Though musical styles increasingly influenced by foreign musical traditions
    • European
      • Church primary influence on music and music making during Colonial period (as throughout Latin America)
        • Introduced European instruments, genres, and performance styles
overview1
Overview
  • Cultural Heritage
    • African
      • Garífuna
        • Descendants of African slaves as well as of Arawak and Carib inhabitants of St. Vincent (a Caribbean island)
        • Musical genres and contexts reflect varying degrees of acculturation
        • Include
          • Various genres performed on traditional Garífuna instruments of African derivation (i.e., chumba, jungujugu, parranda, etc.)
          • African and Christian derived sacred genres
          • Secular work songs
          • Various popular Atlantic coastal Caribbean styles
mayan music and beliefs
Mayan Music and Beliefs
  • Mayan instruments
    • Classified as male or female
      • Reflect Mayan cosmology
        • Female (k’ojom)
          • Struck or plucked instruments (idiophones, membranophones, and chordophones)
          • Associated with the surface of the earth (or geographic plane)
          • Include: rattles, the tun (slit-log drum), rasps, the matraca (a wooden ratchet), the marimba, tambor and tamborón (cylindrical double headed drums); the violin, guitar, and bandolín (a mandolin like instrument)
        • Male (xul)
          • blown instruments (aerophones)
          • associated with cosmic axis connecting world of spirits above and below surface of the earth
          • Include: xul (a duct flute); chirimia (a double-reed instrument); conch trumpets
  • Contemporary Mayan music and contexts
    • Reflect both Mayan and Christian beliefs and practices
      • Contexts include: saint day celebration, solstice, agricultural, and life-cycle celebrations
contemporary guatemalan music
Contemporary Guatemalan Music
  • The Marimba
    • Origins and development reflect encounter between African, Indigenous, and European cultural traditions
      • Most likely of African origin
      • Significant in both ladino and Mayan social and religious events
        • Recognized as national instrument 1821
      • Variation in instrument construction, ensemble instrumentation, and performance styles indicative of acculturative processes
    • Typical genres
      • Traditional sones (i.e., the son guatemalteco)
      • Light classics, and other popular music
music and identity
Music and Identity
  • The marimba as marker of national identity
    • As noted throughout the chapter, the marimba takes a significant place among contemporary Guatemalan instruments and musical traditions
    • Consider the following questions
      • How does the origin and development of the marimba reflect the acculturative processes observed throughout Latin America?
      • What other instruments and/or genres discussed thus far similarly serve as a marker of regional and/or national identity?
      • How might the development and use of the marimba by different ethnic groups inform our understanding of 1) the nature of ethnic, regional, and national identity, and 2) the significance and meaning of certain material cultural items like musical instruments?
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