Miguel Bernal Jiménez and Eduardo Hernández Moncada: A Blending of Mexican Nationalism and Modernism
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractNationalism as a musical movement derives and receives energy and shape from political and social conditions. Musical Nationalism throughout the world surges with the rejection of a hegemony of cultural or political powers. So it was with the Nationalist movement that followed the Mexican Revolution during the first half of the twentieth century. The Mexican Nationalist period (1920-1960) involved music, arts, and politics in a government-inspired search for national identity. Mexican Nationalist ideologies promoted the use and reliability of national resources as the best entrée to the modern Western world. In art music, this implied the incorporation of traditional melodies, rhythms, and performance practices into concert works. At the same time, composers favored the modernist languages of the early twentieth century, and there was a general rejection of Romantic compositional procedures. Carteles by Miguel Bernal Jiménez, and Costeña and Estampas Marítimas by Eduardo Hernández Moncada, exhibit common characteristics of this period. Analysis of these piano pieces demonstrates how these two composers successfully combined Mexican folk elements with modern compositional techniques. When analyzing the dialectics of Mexican Nationalism, a paradox presented in many nationalist music movements surfaces: the aspiration to become universally accepted—in Mexican ideology, 'universal' meaning 'Western'—by means of not sounding Western. Under this premise, the analysis of Bernal Jiménez and Hernández Moncada's works in this research focuses on specific harmonic, melodic, and rhythmic choices and procedures that illustrate this dichotomy of aims in Mexican Nationalism, and that simultaneously define the composers’ individual styles.
Degree ProgramGraduate College