Music Appreciation: Mariachi Essay, Research Paper
The French named mariachi, but the Coca Indians gave the original name in 1500’s referring to any musician. Mariachi sound is impacted by African influence known as SON. Rhythmic pattern altering between 3/4 and 6/8.
Instruments of Mariachi
In a complete Mariachi group today there are as many as 6 to 8 violins, 2 trumpets, and a guitar, which are all standard European instruments. Then there is a high-itched, round-backed guitar called the vihuela, which when strummed in the traditional manner gives the mariachi its typical rhythmic vitality; a deep voiced guitar called the guitarr’o which serves as the bass of the ensemble; and a Mexican folk harp, which usually doubles the base line, but also ornaments the melody.
Beginning of Mariachi
Mariachi began in the nineteenth century in the Mexican State of Jalisco, in a town known as Cocula. The Mariachi was the distinctive version of the Spanish theatrical orchestra of violins, harp and guitars that developed in and around Jalisco.
The principal music played by these early Mariachis was the SON, the popular music of the day. A mixture of folk traditions from Spain, Mexico, and Africa, the son was found in many regions of the country. The son from Jalisco is called the son jaliscience. Sones from other regions include the son jarocho or veracruzano, from the region around the Gulf port of Veracruz. The most famous example of the son jarocho is La Bamba. A typical son huasteco, also known as the huapango, is the La Malague~n a.
Mariachi and Dance
The son-and other types of Mariachi music are not just music to be played and sung. From the very start it as music to be danced to. The lyrics of the sones frequently describe country life: in particular, the plants, animals and the people of the region. These lyrics are highly suggestive, often using imagery of the courtship of farm animals to describe the relations of men and women. In the dance the movements of the performers represent the farmyard courtship described in the verses of the sones.
Mariachi goes back hundreds of years; there are no Bachs or Beethovens in its history because Mariachi music was the music of the country people. Until the 1930’s Mariachi groups were local and semi-professional. They were almost entirely unknown outside their region. This began to change 60 years ago, when the Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitl`an n, founded by Gaspar Vargas in 1898, went from Jalisco to Mexico City. Silvestre Vargas, who had taken over from his father as leader of the Mariachi Vargas in 1928, soon hired a trained musician, Rubi n Fuentes, as musical director. Fuentes, still actively involved with the Mariachi Vargas more than fifty years later, is one of the towering figures in development of the Mariachi. By the 1950’s Mariachi musicians had to learn to read music. This changed the way Mariachi music moved from one group to another. Gone was the total reliance of the musicians on their ears to pick up new songs, and techniques.
With the addition of 2 trumpets, a classical guitar and more violins, by the 1950’s the Mariachi ensemble had become a complete, adaptable orchestra, with the ability to retain its traditional base while it was assimilating new musical ideas and styles.
Mariachi at Special Occasions
Mariachis often help celebrate the great moments in the lives of the Mexican people. With the serenata (serenade), the Mariachi participates in the rite of courtship. Mariachi music has been incorporated into the Roman Catholic Church’s most sacred ritual: the Mass.
Mariachis influence on the United States
Mariachi is found in all educational forms ranging from grade school all the way through universities. USC has over 13 Mariachi clubs and groups and can be found at any other university. Mariachi is also entertainment while dining out at restaurants, El Presidente on Friday nights has a Mariachi group in the bar, and many eating establishments have taken a cue from them. They also play locally in parks and concerts in states ranging from California to Texas.