Chilean Folk Music
There are four main types of folk music in Chile they are:
-Northern Chile, Musica Andina
Each type or sub-genre of music has a quite distinct sound and can be related to the racial groups of these areas and to the history of Chile.
Racial History of Chile
The history of Chile is varied as it has influenced greatly the course of folk music in these four main areas. The history is marked by the following major events: * Incas invaded in the mid 15th century and conquered down to Rio Mapia but could not defeat the Indians further south. * The Spanish invaded in the mid 16th century and conquered the entire Inco empire in Peru, Ecuador and Northern Chile. Pedro de Valdivia, a folk hero, is said to have pushed the Spanish back, but then could not hold the ground and was forced back to the Rio Bio Bio. * The war with the Mapuche Indians lasted a further 200 years until 1880. The Spanish had then taken Chiloe and south of the Rio Tolten despite this the Mapuche Indians held the land between the Rio Bio Bio and the Rio Tolten for the full 200 years. The two sides signed a peace treaty later in 1880.
Characteristics of the Four Groups
Northern Chile, Musica Andina
The Incan culture is a culmination of cultures formed by a having a series of cultures and taking the best of these cultures and combining them. This culture was the first to have developed a formal music education. Since this part of Chile was the first to fall during the Spanish invasion the music is like Incan music but has a distinct Spanish style to it.
The music of Northern Chile relied a lot on the use of the pentatonic scale and the consequent harmony formed be playing with instruments from both Spanish and Incan cultures. This type of music as heavily used religiously as it was incorporated into the Catholic Church.
Central Chile was the most populated region of Chile, the Incan and the Spanish thought they could conquer this region and hold the majority of the population and become the capital of Chile. The music as a result of this became a mix of Spanish and Incan music with a much heavier Spanish influence than Incan. It is in this area of Chile that the South American counterparts to the cowboys exist.
The features of the music are:
a) Great vitality
b) Song is shouted by men only
c) Instruments include the accordion, guitar, el tabel, el tambor d) Three main types of dance
* Los Chinos – linked with Spanish Minors
* Los Chunchos – slow moving dance using costumes and masks (all Incan) * Los Callacas – a form of the maypole used by the Incan Priests e) Use of major and minor scales
f) Use of andogile and rhythm
g) Great use of strings and a lack of woodwind instruments
The Mapuche music has very little Spanish influence because of their resistance to Spain; it is also a symbol of Chilean power.
Mapuche’s musical features are:
a) The songs are chanted, and express the pain and suffering of the singers b) All the songs are monotone
c) Rhythms are very important as hardly any of the instruments they have a melodic. d) The music is used for religious occasions due to the strong church influence in this part of Chile.
The dances for Chiloe music are strongly Huilliche in nature but they are adapted to fit with Spanish music, instrumentation and culture.
Quena – Made of Bamboo cane, bone or wood. It is 25-40cm long, and about 2.5cm in diameter. The sound of the Quena is made by blowing across the top and using combinations of six finger holes. The instrument is used in groups and singularly as well.
Pinkillo – The pinkillo originates in Northern Chile and is similar to the quena except it has a single reed mouth piece, like a modern day clarinet. It has seven holes in total with six finger holes and one thumb hole. The pinkillo...
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