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Navigating Foreign Waters: Spanish Baroque Music & Mexican F

Navigating Foreign Waters: Spanish Baroque Music & Mexican F

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In a very specific sense in 16th- and 17th-century Spain and again in today’s Mexico (and elsewhere in Latin America) the Spanish term son denotes a particular genre of music with certain common traits including a close association with dance, text composed of several verses (coplas) and a fundamental harmonic pattern unique to each son. This use of the term can be found in sources as early as Gaspar Sanz’s Instrucción de musica para la guitarra Española (1674), whose title page proclaims ‘a variety of sones and dances, both strummed and plucked, in the Spanish, Italian, French and English styles’. These Spanish sones are the forerunners of those performed today by popular musicians in many regions of Mexico, notably in the States of Jalisco, Guerrero, and Veracruz, in the latter, the two varieties of son being the huasteco (northern) and the jarocho (southern). Veracruz’s long Gulf of Mexico coastline was home to the principal port of trade between New and Old Spain, where both commercial and cultural exchange took place. In 1776, the Veracruzano guitar professor Antonio Vargas y Guzmán published a guitar method with a section on continuo accompaniment that drew heavily on an existing Spanish treatise, the Resumen de acompañar la parte con la guitarra published in 1714 by Santiago de Murcia. Imported to Mexico via Veracruz, the Spanish son underwent a series of changes in the New World yet retained its main characteristics. Known as sonecitos del país or sones de la tierra these early Mexican sones were the immediate forerunners of the contemporary sones of the jarocho region. The son jarocho features the jarana, a five-course guitar, usually strummed, in many ways resembling a baroque guitar, and more broadly this region’s musical practice has preserved many other aspects of Baroque performance practice including the manner of dancing and instrumental techniques. The son jarocho’s special conservative tendency towards its historic Spanish roots has inspired contemporary musicians to unify what recent research confirms are two sides of the same coin, separated in time but united by common musical material. This recording takes an innovative and unprecedented approach, playing the music of the baroque and son jarocho simultaneously, using original music from the baroque guitar collections (by Sanz and Murcia) to accompany Mexican sones texts sung to their traditional melodies. (The practice of accompanying the voice with a plucked guitar as opposed to a strummed jarana is well attested in baroque sources.) In this way baroque performance practice is incorporated into the jarocho tradition. An additional twist comes from the use of an Italian colascione to provide an improvised bass line, as a baroque analogue to today’s jarocho instrument, the leona (a plucked bass guitar).

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  • Release Specifications

    • Number of Discs: 1
    • Release Date:
    • Label: Brilliant Classics
    • UPC/Barcode: 5028421962054
    • Item Number: BRI96205