Folk Instruments of Puerto Rico: Their Origins, Roots and Influence in Puerto Rican Culture

Powerful Essays
Westminster Choir College of Rider University

Princeton, NJ

FOLK INSTRUMENTS OF PUERTO RICO:

THEIR ORIGINS, ROOTS AND INFLUENCE IN PUERTO RICAN CULTURE

Luis F. Rodríguez

MH 631 - Introduction to Musicology

Prof. Mirchandani

12/19/2001

CONTENTS:

Introduction 3

Historical Background 3

Musical Genres 4

Musical Instruments

Taíno Heritage 6

African Heritage 8

Plucked String Instruments (“Spanish Heritage”) 9

Their Relationship with Folk/Popular Music and Art Music

and their influence in Puerto Rican Culture 13

Conclusions 15

Bibliography 16

INTRODUCTION

The history of Puerto Rican music in general is incomplete and inaccurate. There is little documentation available from the 16th through the 18th-century, due to the lack of attention that the Spanish authorities paid towards Puerto Rico. During this gestation time, educated people considered it not interesting to write about culture and music –especially jíbaro music– in Puerto Rico during the first centuries of the colonization time; it was more interesting to be a philosopher, for example.

It is possible the exposure of other European cultures (and thus their music and instruments) brought to Puerto Rico by contraband during this time, but there is no concrete evidence[1]. The only true fact is that the music of the jíbaros is the basis of the Puerto Rican’s shaping; to say jíbaro is the same as to say Puerto Rican. Thus, it was the jíbaro that first began to give shape to Puerto Rican culture, and with it the music and musical instruments.

This paper will explore the Puerto Rican instruments and how are they related to the history and culture of Puerto Rico.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

Puerto Rican culture is part of a Hispanic civilization. It is the result of the Spaniard’s encounter with the Taíno Indian and the African–with the Hispanic element

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