Carlos Chávez and the Corrido

by Waseen, Amber Donna

Abstract (Summary)
From his 1921 ballet El Fuego Nuevo to his triumphant Sinfonía India of 1936, Mexican composer Carlos Chávez was seen as a leader in the so-called “Aztec Renaissance.” This status, however, has overshadowed his work in other areas, notably that of Mexican popular song. In fact, his music is often restricted to the labels “Indianist” and “non-Mexican,” excluding works that draw from both tendencies as well as a third (Mexican popular) style. Such works include his 1934 choral works Corrido de “El sol” and Llamadas: Sinfonía proletaria in which he sought to create a national but universal art and communicate with the Mexican people, following the goals of the Mexican painters’ movement of the 1920s as well as his own art music aesthetic. For Chávez, Mexican national art entailed a fusion of popular and classical music that would elevate popular song to art and reach out to the Mexican people from a didactic posture. In 1928, he intended to redeem popular music, which he considered vulgar. Six years later, he wrote Corrido de “El sol” and Llamadas, both of which use preexisting songs from the popular Mexican genre known as the corrido. Through musical analyses, this thesis shows how Chávez uses principles of the corrido alongside those of his Indianist and non-Mexican styles to raise the corrido to “art” and potentially benefit the cultural growth of the masses. Textual analyses of these works examine the variants between the lyrics of Corrido de “El sol” and Llamadas and the text of the corridos on which they are based. Alone, these analyses show that the lyrics contributed to Chávez’s goals insofar as they were taken from the corrido, a form of mass-media that the Mexican people had already adopted as their own. However, I also relate the lyrics of Corrido de “El sol” and Llamadas to agrarian and labor reforms in Mexico. Through his polystylistic tendencies and sensitivity to the political climate, Chávez expanded the possibilities of the corrido, contributing to the genre’s adaptability as a soundtrack to current events.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Bowling Green State University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:carlos chávez corrido de el sol llamadas


Date of Publication:01/01/2005

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