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Música de Mariachi

Música de Mariachi

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Published by: Adelaido Alvarez Morán on Oct 30, 2013
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Chapter 1: Introduction to the Sounds of Mariachi

by Natividad “Nati” Cano

Chapter 2: Getting Started: Learning to Play Mariachi Music

Chapter 3: Demonstrations

1. Basic and intermediate son rhythms: “El gavilancillo” –

“Te Little Hawk”

2. Son rhythms for advanced players: “El tren” – “Te Train”

3. Canción ranchera

a. Canción ranchera in 3/4 (waltz): “Árboles de la barranca” –

“Trees of the Ravine”

b. Canción ranchera in slow 4/4: “Volver, volver” – “Return, Return”

c. Canción ranchera in fast 2/4 (polka): “Caminos de Michoacán” –

“Te Roads of Michoacán”

4. Danza: “Hay unos ojos” – “Tere Are Some Eyes”

5. Polka: “Jesusita en Chihuahua” – “Jesusita in Chihuahua”

6. Bolero: “Si nos dejan” – “If Tey Let Us”

7. Huapango: “Cielo rojo” – “Red Sky”

8. Joropo: “La Bikina” – “La Bikina”

Chapter 4: Instrumental Techniques

a. Violín ‘Violin’
b. Trompeta ‘Trumpet’
c. Guitarrón

Tis project has received federal support from the Latino Initiatives Pool, administered
by the Smithsonian Latino Center. // Este proyecto recibidó apoyo federal del Fondo para
Iniciativas Latinas, administrado por el Centro Latino del Smithsonian.

The Sounds of Mariachi

Lessons in Mariachi Performance

SFW DV 48008 PC 2010 Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

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Chapter 5: Performances

1. “El gavilancillo” – “Te Little Hawk”
(Ruben Fuentes - Silvestre Vargas / Peer International Corp, BMI)

2. “El tren” – “Te Train”
(Ruben Fuentes - Silvestre Vargas / Peer International Corp, BMI)

3. “El cuatro” – “Te Four”
(Ruben Fuentes - Silvestre Vargas / Peermusic III Ltd., BMI)

4. “Árboles de la barranca” – “Trees of the Ravine”

5. “Volver, volver” – “Return, Return”
(Fernando Z. Maldonado / EMI Blackwood Music Inc., BMI)

6. “Caminos de Michoacán” – “Te Roads of Michoacán
(Bulmaro Bermudez Gomez / Universal Music-MGB Songs, ASCAP)

7. “Hay unos ojos” – “Tere are Some Eyes”
(Ruben Fuentes / Normal Music, BMI)

8. “Jesusita en Chihuahua” – “Jesusita in Chihuahua”
(Quirino Mendoza / Peer International Corp, BMI)

9. “Si nos dejan” – “If Tey Let Us”
(Jose Alfredo Jimenez Sandoval / Universal Music-Careers, BMI)

10. “Cielo rojo” – “Red Sky”
(Juan Zaizar - David Zaizar / Peer International Corp, BMI)

11. “La Bikina”
(Ruben Fuentes / Peermusic III Ltd., BMI)

Chapter 6: Bonus Segments

1. Guitar-Making: Candelas Guitars

2. Mariachi Traje de Charro Suit-Making

3. Mariachi String-Making

4. A Mariachi Music Store

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The Sounds of Mariachi

Lessons in Mariachi Performance

Notes by

MARk FoGELQUIST AND DANIEL E. SHEEHy

Te Sounds of Mariachi: Lessons in Mariachi Performance ofers essential
lessons in Mexican mariachi performance style, given by some of the most
accomplished, articulate musicians and educators in the feld. Its guiding
musical force is one of the most experienced, authoritative mariachi musicians:
Natividad Cano, founder and director of the Grammy-winning, Los Angeles–
based Mariachi Los Camperos. Born and raised in the cradle of mariachi
music in western Mexico, he is both a product of deep mariachi tradition and
a standard-bearer of the modern mariachi sound. For his artistic achieve-
ments, the National Endowment for the Arts honored him with a National
Heritage Fellowship as an American “national treasure.” He is joined here by
his talented musical director and multi-instrumentalist Jesús “Chuy” Guzmán,
trumpeter Javier Rodríguez, guitarrón player Juan Jiménez, other members
of Mariachi Los Camperos, and guest violinist-singer Rebecca Gonzales,
whose example of artistic success paved the way for women to play a greater
role in the music. Award-winning mariachi educator Mark Fogelquist guides
the viewer into essentials of the style, and his students from Chula Vista
High School illustrate advance-level learning. Tis video is not intended to
teach repertoire, though the eleven pieces performed could serve as guides to
performing those arrangements, nor does it aim to give any more than a brief
historical, contextual overview of this musical tradition. Fortunately, there is
a growing corpus of educational materials that teach mariachi history and
repertoire, and several may be found in the “Select List of Mariachi Resources”
section near the end of these introductory notes.
Style can be the most elusive dimension in mastering a musical tradition.
Even a musician supremely accomplished in instrumental technique might be
totally at sea when thrown into unfamiliar stylistic waters. At the same time,
style is one of the strongest stamps that identifes a specifc musical domain
and gives it its own special favor. Baroque chamber music, big-band jazz,

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bluegrass, and countless other distinctive musical worlds boast their own
particular “feel” or style, and to apply one to the other can lead to results that
are comical at best. Style is elusive because it tends to be passed on aurally,
rather than via written notation. Style is musical “spice” or “seasoning,” which
might fnd expression in articulation, dynamics, phrasing, vibrato, violin
bowing, and other subtleties of performance. Together, they add up to a
body of aesthetic, kinetic, emotive knowledge, whose mastery requires expert
guidance and serious investment of time and practice.
Te Sounds of Mariachi: Lessons in Mariachi Performance is a “master class”
in mariachi performance style, though with something to ofer teachers and
students at all levels. Its content is clustered around the key defning principles
of the music: musical genre and instrument. Te contemporary mariachi
repertoire includes a much wider range of genres, ranging from 19th-century
symphonic works to 21st-century hip-hop and Latin dance forms, but several
musical genres are at its core: son, canción ranchera (in various rhythms),
bolero, huapango, polka, and joropo. Four musical instruments are essential:
vihuela, guitarrón, violin, and trumpet. Tree other instruments—mariachi
harp, six-stringed guitar, and fve-stringed guitarra de golpe—often grace
mariachi ensembles today, but they are not singled out for special treatment in
this video. Te harp style may be seen and heard in the musical performances.
Te lessons for vihuela may be generally applied to the guitar and guitarra
de golpe. Te latter has its own system of tuning and fngerings, which may
be learned via certain of the resources listed under “Select List of Mariachi
Resources.” Te pieces selected to illustrate each genre ft a range of abilities:
beginning, intermediate, and advanced.
Liner notes and four bonus videos enhance the lessons in mariachi perfor-
mance. In the liner notes, educator Fogelquist and coproducer Dr. Daniel
E. Sheehy supplement the video narrative with additional observations and
information. Te videos feature interviews with experienced practitioners
of four key professions that support mariachi performance: guitar-making,
string-making, uniform tailoring, and mariachi retail supply. All are essential
to the performance of mariachi music and participants in “mariachi culture”
writ large.

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Notes By

MARk FoGELQUIST AND DANIEL E. SHEEHy

Chapter 1: Introduction to the Sounds of Mariachi

by Natividad “Nati” Cano

Nati Cano welcomes us to the world of mariachi music and introduces
Mariachi Los Camperos, educator Mark Fogelquist, and student group
Mariachi Chula Vista.

Chapter 2: Getting Started:

Learning to Play Mariachi Music

Learning by ear is the basis of the mariachi tradition and the old ways.
Aural tradition continues to be the principal method of learning the subtle-
ties of style. In this improvised workshop setting, Cano counsels students on
general mariachi ensemble values and draws attention to the jalón ‘pull’ (sound
production) of the guitarrón to give more volume, energy, and drive to the
rhythm. As he talks about energy, he points out how each player has to match
the group’s energy level. Nobody can lag; they all need to keep the same energy
and intensity.

Cano emphasizes that music is more than “playing the notes.” All members
of a group need to play together with the same feeling, understanding the
afect (lively, aggressive, happy, sad, romantic, bitter, and so forth) of each piece
and projecting it to the audience. Te best students connect emotionally with
each note, and the best singers express the music in their body language as well
as in their singing. As Cano says, “We become one—the same mood, the same
energy. It’s like a family, the ultimate ensemble, like chamber music, with no
conductor. Everything has to gel.” If the music does not reach the audience, it
is not complete and does not fulfll its purpose.
In sum, mariachi music at its best requires a vast range of skills, including
a deep knowledge of music fundamentals as well as knowledge of how to

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accompany singers in diferent keys, switching keys and transposing arrange-
ments as necessary. Te technical skill level required of an accomplished
professional mariachi musician may be very high and broad. At the same time,
mastery of the unique mariachi style is necessary for a player to be good within
the genre.

Chapter 3: Demonstrations

Chapter 3 is the instructional core of the video. It approaches the topic
through musical genre, treating essential ingredients of the son, canción ranchera
(including the danza), bolero, huapango, polka, and joropo. Te vihuela and
guitarrón mark the style of each genre; they are the source of the mariachi’s
uniqueness. Te violin and trumpet are essential to the music, of course, but
they are found in other styles of music, while the vihuela and guitarrón are the
signature sound of all mariachi genres. Following the treatment of genres,
Chuy Guzmán ofers further advice on violin techniques, Javier Rodríguez
highlights special, fundamental aspects of trumpet style, and Juan Jiménez
gives tips on learning the guitarrón.

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