Música Tejana: The Cultural Economy of Artistic Transformation

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Texas A&M University Press, 1999 - Music - 239 pages
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Texas-Mexican music, or musica tejana, is not one single music but several musical and musico-literary genres, ensembles, and their styles, encompassing the corrido, cancion, and what author Manuel Pena calls the cancion-corrido. Musica tejana also includes two major regional ensembles and their styles-the conjunto and the Texas-Mexican version of the orquesta. A more recent crop of synthesizer-driven ensembles and their styles, known since the mid-eighties as -Tejano, - is another representative of musica tejana. Despite their diversity, these various ensembles, genres, and styles share two fundamental characteristics: they are all homegrown, and they all speak after their own fashion to fundamental social processes shaping Texas-Mexican society. As Pena persuasively argues, they represent a transforming cultural economy and its effects on Texas-Mexicans. Pena traces the history of musica tejana from the fandangos and bailes of the nineteenth century through the cancion ranchera and the politically informed corrido to the most recent forms of Tejano music. In the beginning, he argues, musicmaking was a function of -use-value--its symbolic power linked to the social processes of which it was an organic part. As musica tejana was swept into the commercial market, it added a second, less culturally grounded dimension--exchange-value--whereby it came under the culturally weakening influence of the commercial market. Since the 1940s, the music has oscillated between the extremes of use- and exchange-value, though it has never lost its power to speak to issues of identity, difference, and social change. Musica Tejana thus gives not only a detailed overview of musica tejana but also analyzes the social and economic implications of the music. The breadth, depth, and clarity with which Pena has treated this subject make this a most useful text for those interested in ethnomusicology, folklore, ethnic studies, and Mexican American culture. Manuel Pena, who received his Ph.D. in ethnomusicology and folklore from the University of Texas, has been a professor of anthropology and music at the University of Texas at Austin and California State University, Fresno. He is the author of The Texas-Mexican Conjunto: History of a Working-Class Music and The Mexican American Orquesta: Music, Culture, and the Dialectic of Conflict.
 

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Contents

Music of the Nineteenth Century An Overview
27
Vocal Music of the Twentieth Century
50
The TexasMexican Conjunto
86
The Orquesta Tejana
118
La Onda Chicana Pinnacle of the Orquesta Tradition
150
Tejano Music of the PostChicano Era
184
Selected Discography
219
References
223
Index
233
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Page 6 - Attali suggests that in the present era of "repetition," "each spectator has a solitary relation with a material object: the consumption of music is individualized . . . The network is no longer a form of sociality, an opportunity for spectators to meet and communicate."9 As a result, he says, we live in a "world now devoid of meaning...
Page 19 - He liked the idea, and asd, but when the tract was inclosed the American had it entered as government land in his own name, and kept all of it. In many similar cases American settlers in their dealings with the rancheros took advantage of laws which they understood, but which were new to the Spaniards, and so robbed the latter of their lands. Notes and bonds were considered unnecessary by a Spanish gentleman in a business transaction, as his word was always sufficient security. Perhaps the most exasperating...

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About the author (1999)

Manuel Peña, who received his Ph.D. in ethnomusicology and folklore from the University of Texas, has been a professor of anthropology and music at the University of Texas at Austin and California State University, Fresno. He is the author of The Texas-Mexican Conjunto: History of a Working-Class Music and The Mexican American Orquesta: Music, Culture, and the Dialectic of Conflict.

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