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Title:The Marimba in Mexico City: Contemporary Contexts of a Traditional Regional Ensemble
Author(s):Solis, Theodore
Department / Program:Music
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:The Mexican folk marimba is a large xylophone with individually resonated keys. It exists in two general sizes: large (four musicians) and small (two or three musicians), played alone or together, or with other instruments. Although the marimba is considered a regional instrument of southeastern Mexico, where marimbistas (marimba musicians) characteristically play dance music for festivities, it is also found in Mexico City. There the marimba functions similarly, catering primarily to southerners, but is also found in contexts where it serves a broader clientele, e.g., as played by street musicians.
The dissertation describes marimba activity in all its characteristic contexts. Its primary purpose is to shed light on the profession of marimbista by exploring (1) social influences upon performance practice and performance context and (2) the ways marimbistas have earned a living by adapting a southeastern Mexican regional ensemble to the unique circumstances of Latin America's largest metropolis.
Chapter II describes the instrument, musical groupings, and technical and textural roles of performers. These data are correlated with performance contexts.
Chapter III discusses the musical product. The marimba is unique among regional ensembles in that its normal repertory emphasizes nationally popular material more than regional folk music. This repertory is examined along with pedagogical practices and modes of repertory acquisition. A complete rehearsal is transcribed and analyzed.
Chapter IV describes geographical and professional origins of marimbistas, the ways and reasons they enter the profession and the manner in which their backgrounds, especially regarding musical literacy or illiteracy, influence their career trajectories. Building upon this, the last sections examine professional groupings (unions, ensemble networks) and earning potentials in various working contexts.
Chapter V emphasizes the ways marimbistas view themselves and are viewed by their colleagues and clients. Status criteria of two kinds, pertaining to (1) particular performance media and performance roles and (2) specific contexts are explored.
Musical examples, tables, charts, and copious photos are included.
Issue Date:1983
Description:358 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1983.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8310010
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-16
Date Deposited:1983

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