Carlos Chavez's compositional use of Preconquest Aztec instruments
AuthorMiddleton, James Albert
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe main purpose of this paper is to discuss Carlos Chávez's use of ancient Aztec instruments in several of his compositions. Several pieces in which he called for the use of these native instruments or their modern equivalents will be discussed in general, with as specific a listing as possible of the instruments required for each work. Musicologists have identified at least thirty different pre-conquest Aztec instruments. The instruments for which Chávez calls in these pieces will be discussed in detail, with illustrations when possible. Chávez is undoubtedly the most outstanding figure in the Mexican musical scene in the twentieth century. His nationalism was a unique combination of a deep entrenchment in the European tradition, an almost congenital exposure to native Indian music and complete immersion in the Hispanic-mestizo musical heritage which surrounded him daily. This study will examine the sources of these influences and how Chávez created his own musical language from them.
Degree ProgramGraduate College