Caribbean Music

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Caribbean Music
| | INTRODUCTION|
Caribbean Music, diverse variety of musical styles and traditions from the islands of the Caribbean Sea. It ranges from traditional folk genres, such as the Puerto Rican aguinaldo and Jamaican mento, to contemporary popular idioms such as salsa and reggae. Caribbean music encompasses the music of the English-speaking Caribbean (formerly the British West Indies), the Hispanic Caribbean (primarily Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic), and the French Caribbean (primarily Haiti, Martinique, and Guadeloupe). Music of mainland countries bordering the Caribbean Sea is sometimes classified as Caribbean as well. These regions include the country of Guyana, the former Dutch colony Suriname, and coastal regions of Mexico, Central America, Columbia, and Venezuela. See also Latin American Music. | | MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS|

In many respects, the diversity of Caribbean music is more marked than its unity, although some generalizations about common traits can be made. Most kinds of music in the region combine features originally derived from Africa with features derived from the West; this synthesis started with European colonization and the importation of African slaves and continues into the present. Such music styles are sometimes described as creole, or more generally as syncretic, indicating a blend of African-derived and Western-derived elements to produce new, distinctively Caribbean entities. The African influence constitutes a stylistic common denominator throughout most kinds of Caribbean music, manifesting itself in the form of lively syncopations (rhythms emphasizing offbeats), call-and-response vocal formats, and ostinatos (repeated musical phrases), which are often based on simple chords. | | DISTINCTIVE STYLES|

Most Caribbean music may be grouped into folk, classical, or commercially popular categories. Some folk styles are derived primarily from African music and tend to be dominated by percussion...
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