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The University of Texas. Program given to the culture of the next. These programs are Department of music and the Center for floor and oral history at the University of Texas at Austin. Hello I'm John Freeman and with me today again on this program is doctor a medical portrait is who is director of the University of Texas a center for intercultural studies and folklore in oral history. Dr. Berettas last week we were speaking of the corrido which is a ballad type of Mexican folk song. Today we are moving to the decimal in
what way are these two song forms related. And how have they developed in the history of Mexico. There is a very interesting difference between these two forms in the 19th century folklore series how the idea that all folklore came directly and purely from the folk. In fact some of them saw that the dancing singing song as they called it compose the songs that they were composed communality not only were they anonymous but they were group compositions. Even those that did not believe go this far. I did believe that somehow sophisticated music sophisticated literature contaminated folk poetry and folk song the less famous perhaps the best example refuting this theory. On the Corey though we were talking about the quote really other time is closer to the traditional C or E in that it comes from the romance a
a folk song of Spain romance in its turn came apparently from the old medieval Spanish epics around the end of the sixteenth century the beginning of the 17th century romance it was taken up by popular poets. After them by sophisticated poets they just lump it I call that on poets writing in Spain about the time that the Elizabethan writers were writing in England so that the romance that came into literature. It was about this time that the Vestey mob became popular in sophisticated literature and it's a very highly sophisticated form almost as rigid as a sonnet. It's 10 lines Time Zone. Each line has to have eight syllables and has a very rigid rhyme scheme usually a B B A is the first five lines and then the second five lines are mirror. It's a very difficult form to compose.
Yet somehow it came into the folk tradition especially in Latin America. FOCO it's not only can compose in this they can improvise in Argentina recently a group of us was visiting there. They had a folk poet who for an hour to improvised and they sing a form with a guitar very much as a calypso singers do in the West End days he would just be given the same and he'd strum a few chords and come out with a less than honest mistake a tremendous mentality to composers on the spot. It does not of course a tremendous store of stock phrases and very good knowledge of the sort of rhyme scheme that you need to hear. The church apparently had a good deal to do with the folklore ization of this form in Latin America and it's because of this I suppose that one of the most popular same's of the folk
that's in now which by the way is cultivated from New Mexico all the way down to Argentina is a religious theme. This is the mother we're going to hear first. Danniella is on an Old Testament same. Now this would be reflecting the story of Adam and Eve. That's true. I yeah yeah you know because out of more of your labels I do. Yes I think you need to go. Beyond the lesson that I did. I was out. With my no
one's out with it and it. Got to go. But I want to get on board would go on just being me. Guy you know. Yeah right. Yeah you guys that I don't know what NBA guy was like yeah yeah yeah. Dr. Bruce what is it was it a characteristic of that particular vocalist or did it mean something the way the words apparently ran together.
This is one of the most characteristic ways that they they're similar is song. And in the folk tradition apparently it is a counterweight to the very rigid verse form and the music is a very free form. This man perhaps does one of the most typical jobs. Very often it is done a capella sometimes even when there is a musical accompaniment. The musical accompaniment is really an interlude. Then the guitar stops so that the singer sang was without a company moment. This old man gone silent his name sang more or less rubato but he tends to take a musical phrase and put two sometimes even three lines of verse in it. And this gives the whole thing a feeling of freedom that it would not have otherwise if the music were as rigid as a verse form. Another thing about the music is that almost threw out Latin America certainly in the areas of Mexico that I know of singers will have just one or
two ones for every the scene where they sang they might know a hundred the same as they sing them all to the same tune in some other areas they might have one or two tunes perhaps one for the religious Essien was one for the non-religious that seem nice or there are certain tunes that are characteristic of certain regions. I would not be able to comment on that because I don't think there's been enough done and comparative studies however what let's say Mendoza reports for Mexico. I know what I've done Amano diva chattery and others report for Chile is very much the same. This crowding of syllables this time insidious thing rubato not to use harmonica complement except as an interlude. This seems to be quite general so out Latin America. Another very. The interesting thing about this especially from the viewpoint of the rigid verse form is that especially this one that we listen to is a gloss to the ACMA.
The composer who was the original composer was given a four line stanza which is pick arrest and he was asked to gloss it in for this in mice who had to be religious. Each one of those SMI was in order and one of the lines of the quatrain and the quatrain the SMI gloss itself is a religious symbol. If you take the last four lines and look at them separately you can see that there's a picturesque element there. This is known in Chile to were actually obscene quatrains are given to a singer in a way core and all they know to gloss and religiousness in mice and of course it brings us to this matter of obscenity and of relation of obscenity to ritual if you will the listening audience. Ever hear the original quatrain that would be obscene. Yes in Chile as far as I know yes because that song first and then the singer has to gloss it has to break it up.
This seems to be quite common throughout the next month or we're going to hear is there one I don't know or a non-religious same. And this is one of the narratives of the same as the saying that you may notice is a blind singer uses a guitar but does not use it really to chord. There. There. There.
Dr. British you point out that the decimal is a very sophisticated form. Where do you
go to find the people who are capable of performing these. Well it we might say it was a very sophisticated form and the 17th centuries that it went out of style with the literary man though it was revived you might say in the 19th century apparently it came who was the missionaries to the new world. We hear of this in my eyes being composed in the Indian languages for example due to help Christianize Indians. However this image seems to have gone into popular culture at that time and it was carried all the way to the front to the provinces. For example ESPN offices and others have collected them in New Mexico. My collecting has been along the border where the court Reeva by the way has been a very strong tradition not strong enough to do away with this thing. For example number one the one about Adam and Eve was sung by an old man who has been known as a singer all his life. But saying this very few could read those and has never sung with a
company man. When I record them there was a guitar there. He refused to be accompanied by a guitar. Number two the one about the horse racing that we just heard was sung by a blind singer named Flo it is one of the more traditional singers in the area who had been taught by an earlier blind singer that Johnny Lomax had recorded in my name so artist who is credited with composing many of the border Corylus what he said was flawed it was still composing his own death in mice in fact I recorded two or three days he was of his own composition. This one which extols a river by courses horses bred along the Rio Grande is the fleetest in the world that was not his composition though. It is a narrative that's a mile. We might mention by the way that I feel this images are transmitted and told of the way the quit rate of the romance in the British ballad are which will be transmitted and modified. Other verse forms so rigid that it is
not admit many modifications. What is transmitted at least in my area is the tradition of composing with a C minus the form and the stock of conventional phrases. They are most often improvised to recomposed and this course gives them a stronger full character. In other words they're not something that are picked up from books though. Eventually the form goes back to sophisticated golden age literature. What cities have you found most of these and in Texas in the ranches in the country for example they are a minus sign that Ani ever comes from a ranch south of Matamoros flood is was a Sanger all up and down the valley the Rio Grande Valley I recorded him in Brownsville Texas. I would say that these first two of this thing I was are a good example of the folk rural folk that seem now number three is a different side because of this and my has also been very important in the folklore of the
cities. This one called Senor Don Lemon Barossa lady I'm standing across I your daughter back to you as a comic pick caress. That's him I get is Texan Texas Mexican because a man says I'm not going to be like even to go I'm living in Texas not going to be a likely American So let my wife tell me what to do. These are the more of the city type of humor. They are the urban lore that we folklorists have become very much interested in today. You may notice that the a company is much more complex there are two guitars being used here. This type of su much more likely to be transmitted. What's. Your. Read on methadone much better. Than my room when my new on.
My rig on the road out front. For good measure are you. Getting on me to. Have any mingling Yarrow grows or rock. There them my. Diverter this. Has been one. Of those but at the.
Heart of the. Humor you know month or that that's gonna see him get in the door. But I even got back. From Iraq. As a cordon of. The army. There was a deal. They're. Over that part of.
The world was there and. You guys I'm on. The other you know that you and every guy you know. Dr. Paradis did I react to a rumba rhythm in that last recording I think you were right. Unless the show was the adaptability of the SMI to different musical forms. Now in there is the more remote areas one finds that I see my very often a song is number one with song acapella completely there is no accompaniment in some areas perhaps slightly less remote where you have some musical ability you might have want to guitarist as a numbered tool and what the guitar is used more or less for musical
interludes. But this image can be given almost any kind of a company man. This is a good example in which the singing is still basically rubato but the Ender ludes are very very modern. You might say at least as far as Mexican tradition is concerned harmonic structure seemed very contemporary on that very very contemporary and now in some areas especially in central Mexico. This EMI has become part of a musical complex called the law now. And now the bylaw NA is not always used with a C might be used with six lines times as with other kind of stanzas. But it is one form in which they see my as sung in the interior of Mexico. It may be a very very complex the music used is something like a music with a song on and there may be a quatrain song. Then I see my glossed and a the spirit either or final quatrain.
This next one that we have recorded by Professor Stanford called a story about a band that I want to anger out on which I am about ready to sell. This ungrateful woman is of this type it is a lyrical song slightly pick arrest also and it is in they've been on a musical form but are using that that's in my eyes a as a verse form. This happens to settle out Latin America. I thought Spanish America at least I did this in my adopted self musically. Too many different musical styles and still the singing remains basically the same in spite of this. Will we ever hear Decimus sung too. Instrumental groupings as in previous programs we've heard members with guitars. Or is it usually just the guitar. Other bylaw not includes a number of string instruments that would include guitars sometimes violin and sometimes they get better on something like
the dance music for the song on the WAP oncle any percussion instruments. I don't know whether this is true and at least on this for a lot of that we're going to hear but sometimes you do have a drone in the song. It would be possible to how that I do know for example that and South America very often you do have this arrangement or what is a very special one having one guitarist playing and having another mind drumming on the guitar and Mexico that is very often done with the horrible Also in the title of our next recording is one story other than that I when I got down which means I'm just about ready to sell this ungrateful woman give her away. To me. Yes I know then that owning you not.
Going up. I don't get it but I guess that goes I guess you know. Yes.
You know. Yeah. When we're not able. Not to print this as a final statement what is the place of the
decimal in contemporary Mexico. In Mexico it perhaps is not as important now as let's say it is and Cuba and Puerto Rico were the same i still is a very important form in some parts of Mexico perhaps that still is being composed certainly in the part that I'm most familiar with in the north. Only they all men compose it and saying that the court really has more or less displaced it. But if one sees that from the viewpoint of Latin America as a whole it's true there's a very important folk form. Thank you Dr America Paradis director of the Center for Cultural Studies in folklore an oral history at the University of Texas in Austin. Next week Professor Stanford will join us again for our continuing explorations in the music of contemporary Mexico. Lucy is a production of communication center
the University of Texas at Austin a selection of music and commentary in the series are under the supervision of Tom Stanford assistant professor in the Utah Department of the John Prine field recordings are drawn from the sound archives of the Mexican National Museum of Anthropology and the Center for intercultural study folklore and oral history at the University of Texas at Austin. This is NPR National Educational Radio Network.
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Musica Popular Mexicana
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Series 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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University of Maryland
Identifier: 69-26-10 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:28:44
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