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The meanings of marimba music in rural Guatemala

Navarrete Pellicer, Sergio Javier; (1999) The meanings of marimba music in rural Guatemala. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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This thesis investigates the social and ideological process of the marimba musical tradition in rural Guatemalan society. A basic assumption of the thesis is that "making music" and "talking about music" are forms of communication whose meanings arise from the social and cultural context in which they occur. From this point of view the main aim of this investigation is the analysis of the roles played by music within society and the construction of its significance as part of the social and cultural process of adaptation, continuity and change of Achi society. For instance the thesis elucidates how the dynamic of continuity and change affects the transmission of a musical tradition. The influence of the radio and its popular music on the teaching methods, music genres and styles of marimba music is part of a changing Indian society nevertheless it remains an important symbols of locality and ethnic identity. From an economic perspective, music change becomes a cultural strategy in conditions of socioeconomic change. And in the politics of social interaction the thesis illustrates how, in a fragmented, "post"-war society, friendship is vital for music making. During fifteen months of fieldwork participant observation was carried out cultivating friendships in a land of mistrust, gossip and vengeance. From the memory of a dead relative to the sensual imagination of a young love the author analyses the moral and ethic values and judgements about music performed in certain contexts and the transformation of those meanings into emotion which is interpreted by the author as a musical aesthetics of emotion. Looking at the musical tradition in Rabinal in historical context and the meanings attributed to its music by both audience and musicians in present everyday life and during particular musical occasions an attempt is made to contribute to a contextual approach within the field of the anthropology of music.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The meanings of marimba music in rural Guatemala
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Social sciences; Communication and the arts; Guatemala
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10103690
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