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Ethno Studyguide
Topics: Aztec / Pages: 4 (786 words) / Published: May 9th, 2013


Aztec (Mexica) – Maya – indigenous cultures/languages v Aztec music was thought to be the poorest art of the pre-conquest natives. (lacks harmony) -Aztec civilization: “well planned cities with towering pyramids and impressive temples.
Highly developed system of picture writing and of elaborate patronage in the arts. v Aztec instruments:
-large Aztec war drum, instruments made of animal and human bone, conch shell and vertical instruments, flutes. Aztec Teponaztli v The Mexica: The valley, tigris and Euphrates.
-the Aztec spoke nahuatl
Every culture had 4 instruments:
1. Voice
2. Percussion
3. String
4. Wind v The Maya is a Mesoamerican civilization with a highly developed language and culture
-Mayan totonacas –local dialects-yet distant areas

Bernal Díaz - Bernardo de Sahagún - Pedro de Gante – Nahuatl – v Bernal Diaz: an early conquistador (1492-ca. 1581), he called azec music the poorest art of the pre-conquest natives. Aztec music to him seemed only dismal and horrible. He associated the music to the sacrifices of his comrades to their gods. v Bernardo de Sahagun: 16th century missionary, he was Franciscan-heard Aztec Music with different ears, and was therefore able to render a more sympathetic account of it.
He helped translate the codices (books written by Aztecs). v The unfavorable comments of Bernal Diaz, rather than these favorable accounts, created the climate of opinion in which the older generation of Mexican music historians lived, until about 1920. v Diego Duran: Dominican missionary who also shared views with sahagun. v Pedro de Gante: (Europeans adapting to indigenous music)Born at Iseghem. Gante’ s was a missionary and on his first 3 years in Mexico he largely spent his time at Texcoco were he learned Nahuatl. His sphere of action in Texcoco, in Tlaxcala, and in Mexico City revealed him as a teacher of youth. He supervised schools along with Spanish friars, with an emphasis on music. He realized that the only way to attract them would be through music. He was able to accommodate himself to native custom v Nahuatl: A tongue from Central America spoken by the indigenous such as the Aztecs. It is a tongue which lacks the six consonants b,d,f,g,r and s. It was hard to master.

Stevenson’s 3 research methods - idiophones, aerophones, etc. v Studying artifacts, music, influential writers. ( looking into written info from the
15th/16th centuries) Especifically religion: clergy writings. v Archeological:codices ( find artifacts/ instruments, sketches; have an idea of their music and instruments they play, or that people continue to use). v Contemporary music, objective writings ( fieldwork) v All Aztec instruments were either idiophones, arophones or membraphones.

v Idiophones: Any musical instrument which creates sound primarily by the way of instrument’s vibrating, without the use of strings or membranes. Anything that you play with your hands Ex: rattles, marimbas. v Percussion: (Membranophone): Any musical instrument that makes sound primarily by the way of a vibrating stretched membrane. Most are drums v Aerophone: Any musical instrument which produces sound primarily by causing a body of air to vibrate, without the use of strings or membranes, and without the vibration of the instrument itself adding considerably to the sound. It includes wind instruments. teponaztli – tunkul – ocarinas – ayacachtli - 3 methods of performance – v Teponaztli: It was the omega of the Aztec instruments. A hollowed out wooden cylinder laid sideways, the teponaztli could produce two pitches. These are sounded by striking the two tongues of an I-shaped incision. The teponaztli was used during sacrifices and sacrifices were done. They extracted the heart of the weakling warrior and the blood that gushed into the inner resonance chamber of the teponaztli gave it new life. War chiefs carried small teponaztlis into battle. v Tunkul: stone drum v Ocarinas: also referred to as huilacapitztli. Features: has a large size
(ranging to 20cm), their carefully executed mouthpieces, and their refined finger holes. Had either an anthropomorphic or zoomorphic shape in central
v Ayacachtli: rattles, head of rattle is flower-shaped. During the Aztec empire they took part golden ayacachtlis took part of royal dances. Nowadays this rattle –with beads, dried seeds, or pebbles inside its head-takes the name given it by sixteenth- century Brazilian Indians: maraca.
-There was a custom of forcing prisoners to dance, sing and shake their rattles before being killed or eaten. v Ayolt: Shell of a turtle struck with an antler and each produces a different pitch. v Atecocoli: The ritual instrument used to praise the sun god…its conch shell and blown like a trumpet. v Three Methods of Performance:
-Resconstruction: Music played for religious needs (Aztec Reconstruction) Ex:
Danza de los Quetzales
- Contemporary: In contemporary traditional/context
-Creative: Creative contemporary expression.

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