Mariachi Essay, Research Paper
Mariachi is a type of Mexican music. The meaning of the word mariachi has been argued over but the explanation that appears most frequently is that it is a variation of the French word mariage, meaning wedding or marriage, and comes from the time in the nineteenth century when Maximillian, a Frenchman, was Emperor of Mexico. According to this myth the French named the Mariachi after the celebration with which it was most commonly associated. But this is just one of the many theories.
In the complete Mariachi group today there are as many as six to eight violins, two trumpets, and a guitar. The sound that these instruments combine to make is unique.
Although the origins of Mariachi music go back hundreds of years, in the form we know it the Mariachi began in the nineteenth century in the Mexican state of Jalisco. The Mariachi was the distinctive version of the Spanish theatrical orchestra of violins, harp and guitars, which developed in and around Jalisco. By the end of the nineteenth century, two violins, and the guitar (which had replaced the harp) were the instruments of the Mariachi. The mariachi is not only to be sung but also to be danced. When dancing the mariachi the performers skillfully drive the heels of their boots or shoes into the dance-floor, it can literally reduce even the most resistant dance floor to splinters because of the force with which it is danced.
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. In a society where the young members of opposite sexes were kept apart, the serenata was a means of communication by which a young man could send a message of love to the woman of his heart. Mariachis are also commonly hired for baptisms, weddings, patriotic holidays, and even funerals. It is not unusual for the deceased to leave a list of favorite songs to be sung beside the grave at burial.