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Communication Center the University of Texas at Austin present. Programs we explore the music and dance forms of Mexico special info given to the history and culture of the Mexican. These programs are presented in cooperation with the Department of music and the Center for intercultural studies in folklore and oral history at the University of Texas at Austin. And now here are Tom Stanford assistant professor in the Utah Department of music and John Fryman who among us has not at one time or another tuned a car radio or home television set to some sort of
Mexican broadcast. And if it was a broadcast of music we probably thought we were getting a real taste of the music of Mexico. Well this is not necessarily the case because the real music of Mexico and the real meaning of the phrase popular music of this land to the south of us is actually quite another thing and that which we are accustomed to hearing on the electronic media doesn't always tell the story. And so the reason for this new program series and exploration into the real music of Mexico probably most of it you have never heard of any other time in your life. The University of Texas in Austin is indeed fortunate to have on its staff an individual to whom this real music of Mexico has been a consuming interest for most of his life. He is Professor Tom Stanford and he is associated with both the Folklore Center and the music department on the University of Texas campus in Austin. Tom I understand that for almost 12 years you were associated with a Mexican National
Museum of Anthropology. How is it that you as an American citizen gain that position. Well after my two years service in the armed forces I went down to Mexico with the purpose of studying Spanish and preparing myself for doing work in with the folk music of Latin America. I was before very long the head of the Sound Archive in the National Museum of Anthropology and I held that post for a matter of over 11 years. Simultaneously I also taught in the American school foundation in Mexico City and in the superior school of sacred music which is associated with the Mexico City Cathedral. Often on of course previous to that I'd had my preparation here in the United States principally as a composer and I studied at Juilliard School of Music under Leon courage under Vincent persecutee. I studied also at the University of Southern California with
Leon Kirshner and out universe of California in Berkeley with Roger Sessions I received my master's degree from the University of Southern California. I had been interested in folk music during my stay in Okinawa. When I was in the armed forces a stay of almost a year and there I studied the Japanese musical instrument the court with native musicians. Well done music is a venerable tradition of course in almost all cultures throughout the world. Where or how does it fit into the historic Mexican culture. Mexican culture before the Conquest. The Aztec culture was a highly technological culture and placed great esteem upon the arts and the sciences. It happened that the musician the performer and the composer in Prius panic Mexico was a member of the highest social straight-A he
was virtually a priest. Now this had a very lasting effect upon Mexican music which can be felt down to the present day. In that when they first Spaniards arrived with their Catholic zeal they immediately started to convert the Indians and suddenly realize that for some reason which probably even they themselves didn't understand at first. Music was one of the most useful implements to this process of conversion. When they offered the Indians the opportunity to sing to learn songs to perform in the churches they came in droves. Now to this we should add the overall panorama of the Mexican landscape during the 16th century because the Spaniards when they came upon the city of Mexico line as it was called in those
days were certainly awestruck. For one thing according to some authorities Mexico City might have been even the largest city in the world at that time. At any event we can be sure that it was larger than any city that any of the Spaniards who arrived with Cortez had ever seen. Whether it's immense pyramids it's aqueducts raised aqueducts out across the lake. It was an island in the center of the lake and an island which was flooded periodic way during the rainy season but had public works of a magnitude which the Spaniards had never seen or perhaps even dreamt of. One of the things that most impressed the Spaniards was the market system which was a very developed institution produce fresh vegetables fresh fruits were on sale some 24 hours after being harvested they had been taken into the city at night by boat
and were there on sale 24 hours after harvesting. As we mentioned the Aztecs took to the Spanish musical cultures the European musical culture very readily so readily in fact that within some 20 25 years after they final conquest of Mexico City the Spaniards already had more musicians on their hands than they knew what to do with. They had Indians that were manufacturing European musical instruments. They had Indians who were composing music for use in the divine services around the mid 16th century. The first Mexican church council had to decree that there could not be more than one orchestra per parish church nor more than two choirs and the choirs at that particular time would have numbered around 20. Probably these orchestras actually perform in the churches and performed in the churches at the beginning. In the absence of Oregon's the Indians played recorders and other
types of flutes to imitate the sound of the organ and play music which would be similar to that normally played by the organ. The first church council also decreed that organs be installed in all the churches in Mexico as quickly as possible where these organs are built locally are brought from Europe. They were built locally with some materials from Spain for example the parchment for the bellows we know it was brought across from Spain. It was built under the direction of Spanish organ builders by actually built by Indians to the first Mexican music of which we have knowledge as a music composed in Mexico was composed by Spanish musicians Spanish chapel masters at the cathedrals of Prince book at the drills in Mexico. The first such a chapel master for whom we have any music is fed non-dual Franco who is chapel master in the
Cathedral of Mexico City. Between 50 and 75 when he arrives from the Cathedral of Guatemala. And 15 85 one which was the year of his death. We should keep in mind that the Mexico City cathedral was at that time a sort of a hermitage. It had cedar beams on the roof and was mud thatched that it was the Church of the Indians at that time because the Church of the Spaniards was the San Francisco Church and that this music would have been sung by Indians. This I think left its impact upon the production of Franco while he was at the Mexico City Cathedral in that the music is not pretentious nor overly difficult. We'll hear a recording now of the Magnificat on the seventh tone the two sections the glory and the secret and not. The.
The the the. OK.
Yes. Tom I think it should be pointed out that the recording that we just heard as with the other recordings on this program are from commercial labels but
the recordings on succeeding programs will be from your own personal collection recorded on the scene. That's right. This collection is in the hands of the Mexican National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City. Now the Golden Age of Mexican arts we could say began some her around 16 20 and they first center of artistic activity was probably the city of Puebla for a very simple you might say commercial reason at this particular time. Peru and South America as well as Central America depended politically upon. Mexico and the trade route did not go through Mexico City for produce or for people are on their way to let's say Peru from Spain they had to pass through the port a very cruise and then they went up into the Highlands as faras point Bligh and then cut south thereby bypassing
Mexico City Pueblo was very important during the 16th and at least the first half the seventeenth centuries for the production of silk. Also another production was the purple dye which was in use in all the courts of Spain in the rest of Europe during that period. It was in the Cathedral of Puebla that we had the first I would say really important composer living in Mexico. One good yet is that by the very man born in Mexico. No he was from from Spain from a region close to the Portuguese border. He was an interesting person. He had a negro slave who was a almost you might say a partner in a trade selling musical instruments. He entered in the employee of the cathedral in Pueblo in 16 22 from Spain and he continued as Chapel master until his death in 16 64. We'll
hear now a recording of Tet in 16 voices written for the dedication of the public Cathedral when it was finally completed. Axl thought the U.S. indoor Mino. The the. A shit load of Heat
beat the shit. It is. A week.
Yes. Getting the YES YES YES YES. Yes you eat easy. Yes was the goal. Yes it is. But yeah yeah. Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah it was a bit yeah
yeah. Okay. Yeah yeah yeah yeah. Gets close. To it it was loaded it hit the home it was to close the lid.
The yeah was the kitchen. And why. Well Tom as a point of clarification you are telling us then that the 17th century Indians were fashioned into a musical group by these Catholic fathers to produce a sound like we just heard. Is that so. Yes I would say that there's no reason for supposing that Mexico was a quaint province at this period of time at this period. It was certainly on a musical par with Spain itself. It had composers of the same stature and it also had Indians who were capable not only of just performing this music but of composing it and of constructing the instruments upon which it would be played.
So this reflects some other elements that we've heard of the tremendous intelligence of these ass takes at that time. Yes well I think there's no reason to believe that they were in any way inferior to comparable groups anyplace in the world at that period in history. We could reflect a little bit upon culture items of the Aztec civilization which were adopted by Europe during 16th century such as coffee different types of di chocolate which became a very important commercial. I don't and in our own history books many times things which are said to have come from the Indies Actually this is misunderstood to have been the East Indies when at you it was from the West Indies or be it principally from Mexico. In the commerce of spices Mexico is very important. The production of paper and Mexican paper was very highly esteemed as being a very fine paper very thin and very white and the Spanish
crown finally had to prohibit its production in Mexico because of the serious competition that it caused with paper producers at home. Also we might reflect upon the fact that the University of Mexico which was established around mid 16th century was very active from around 16:00 and that by the latter half of the 17th century we had in Mexico a very famous poetess sort of whiny ness that I cruise who was reputed to be the fifth Muse because of the excellence of her literary production. The first native born Mexican composer who we know was native born. It was somewhat later this was in the early eighteenth century. But we might reflect that the music we just heard would undoubtedly originally have been accompanied by instruments. And I was to say would not have been just acapella voices as we heard it trumpets Shaun's
kind kind of primitive oboes instruments of the Soon family vials all would have been used to accompany the voices. And in this particular composition Actually there were voices which did not have text indicated presumably they should have been performed by instruments and not sung. The next recording that will hear is that of a young Saeco young Meister Senora by a man who went to my the first Mexican composer who we known to have been born in Mexico. Manuel Soumaya was the composer of the first Mexican opera of which we have knowledge. Part of an LP that was performed at the viceregal court in Mexico City and 17 11. He was a clergyman. He first attracted the attention of the Mexican court by his translations from Italian
into Spanish librettos of Spanish of Italian operas. He retired in around seven thousand thirty two from the cathedral Mexico City after having been the chapel master there for some 20 years to the city of one haka where he dedicated the rest of his life not to composing but to translating theological works from Latin and Italian into Spanish. Melvin Brown is the soloist in the recording. To hear him now. Really hit a high.
A. Young. Mother. Told me she lol. LOL
LOL. Lol. First time you. Leave them up it. Was fun. Yeah now I was told it was bluff land land there. Lol. Lumsden.
Was. Was fun. Ha ha you gullible was the goal. LOL LOL Oh. Wha wha lobola. You. Study. Them up. Close son. Plus a load load plus no
load. Tom that recording completes the last of this very quick historical survey as we move in the next program to your contemporary recordings what will be your general plan of attack. Well the first programs will be dedicated to a sort of a a geographical Explorer exploration starting in the state of Chiapas in the southwest of the Mexican Republic and where we go from there we'll continue up the Pacific coast into the east into the region of the Isthmus and then the mystic area in the northern part of the state of the haka then will continue up into Holly school and beach work. I'm sure we all will very interested Lee follow this geographic tour through the real music of Mexico.
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Musica Popular Mexicana
Episode Number
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Other Description
Musica Popular Mexicana is a series of programs which explores traditional regional music and dance forms of Mexico, with a special emphasis given to the history and culture of the Mexican people. Each episode focuses on specific regions and forms, with commentary from Mexican musicology expert Thomas Stanford. The program is produced in cooperation with the Department of Music and the Center for Intercultural Studies in Folklore and Oral History at the University of Texas Austin, and is distributed by the National Education Radio Network. Sound recordings are provided by the Center for Intercultural Studies as well as the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico.
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AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 69-26-1 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:28:34
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Chicago: “Musica Popular Mexicana; 1,” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 19, 2022,
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APA: Musica Popular Mexicana; 1. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from