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Music of South America . Early History of Americas. All peoples originating from Asiatic peoples crossing the ice between Alaska and Siberia at the end of the last ice age. Within 5,000 years South and North America populated.

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Music of South America

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music of south america
Music of South America
  • Early History of Americas. All peoples originating from Asiatic peoples crossing the ice between Alaska and Siberia at the end of the last ice age. Within 5,000 years South and North America populated.
  • Pre-conquest in South America – civilisations such as Inca and pre-Inca peoples using music for ritual and entertainment purposes. Instruments suriving are wind (both clay and wood) and percussion. No string instruments.
spanish conquest
Spanish Conquest
  • The success of Cortes against the Aztecs prompted Pizaro’s expedition against Peru in 1524 and 1531, through which he was able to take over the Inca empire. Then Spain creates a new empire in the New World and introduces European instruments and music to their new subjects. South Americans unusually good and music. Mixing of races and cultures. Import of String Instruments.
  • South America divided up between Portugal and Spain by the Pope in 1530s. Portugese area now Brazil. Huge mining and plundering of raw materials to fund these countries
  • Colonial period lasted 300 years until early nineteenth century and age of Bolivar and the independence movements across South America.
  • During this period huge numbers of slaves were imported from Africa to work the plantations that the Indians would or could not work.
mixing of musical traditions
Mixing of Musical Traditions
  • All countries and areas of South America have a mix of ethnic and cultural identities that are based on original tribal groupings, colonial history and environment.
  • All have urban elites that are European orientated and have Western Art music forms – opera, symphony orchestras etc.
  • All folk musics that are an amalgum of European and indigenous traits (typically seen in shopping centres in Europe).
  • All have remote populations that retain strong elements of language, culture and religion that go back to pre-conquest periods. But which nevertheless are still hybreds.
example of bolivia
Example of Bolivia
  • Communities in towns either Western/American in cultural orientation or Mestizo (mixed) who model themselves on Europeans. They speak Spanish and live in the lower levels.
  • By contrast the populations in the high Andes speak non written languages (Quechua. Imara, etc) that relate to Inca languages. They do not electricity, sanitation, roads etc. And live in marginal agricultural communities that are separated by altitudes.
  • Such communities have existences that are governed by music as a means to successful living.
  • In high Andes communities all play a part – but gender division is absolute. Age is also important.
  • Music making governed by yearly agricultural cycle and the fiestas that govern it. These fiestas are also religious events which have both a catholic and pagan significance – the one superimposed on the other.
  • Instruments are specific to the time of year– rainy season, dry season - often made for the events, and to the region and fiesta.
  • All play the same tune which is communally developed – rather than composed.

Main events for music making – can take days or even week. Communities travel to visit each other on mass.

Main opportunity for courtship, drinking and fighting.

Music making is continuous and unstructured.

Important role of patrons and of the participation of spirit world. To placate and please saints and non-Christian gods (Pacha Mama) and to ensure fertility of land and to bring rains. Observe and encourage yearly cycle.

folk music
Folk Music
  • Folk music is found across South America and involves mixing of instruments and local hybrid traditions. Mixing panpipes, guitars, changos, drums is typical and informs the Western conception of Andean music.
  • In other regions other influences at work – e.g. Venezuela plains – Spanish and Portugese renaissance traditions; Brazil – African percussion and dance musics. Ideas of syncretism and acculturation.
stringed instrument
Stringed Instrument
  • Spanish/Portugese brought traditions of guitars and harps to South America. Some regions are a treasure house for the preservation and development of these traditions – Venezuala and the `quatro’, the harp in Paraguay. Some effect for recorder type wind instruments.
  • Song forms often also betray influence of Spanish – romance, villancico
development of european dance forms into something new
Development of European Dance Forms into Something New
  • In urban areas dance forms based on café life developed from European to indigenous forms. Originals are Saraband, Jaroppa, Polca, maszurca and cuadrilla.
  • Best example is Tango which develops in Argentina with its own dance, style and instrumentation (Bandolion).
  • Afro-Caribbean influences in Portugese areas produce Samba (bossa nova), Salza (carribean) and Carnival culture. Latin dance rhythms exported from 1920s onwards with huge success.
last thoughts
Last Thoughts
  • Other cultures also present in South America. Argentina has all sorts of enclaves (even Welsh speakers?). Gamelan in Surinam.
  • Also Americanisation and infuence of MTV is strong everywhere.
  • Many countries remain chaotic and badly run. Music survives as an outlet for disposed thought the continent.