The Indispensable Harp: Historical Development, Modern Roles, Configurations, and Performance Practices in Ecuador and Latin America

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Kent State University Press, 1992 - Music - 288 pages
A musical instrument that has played a vital role in Latin American music cultures--the harp--is the subject of this new work, the first study of its kind to be published in English. John Schechter presents a history of the harp in Spain, traces its introduction into colonial Latin America, and describes its modern roles in the diverse cultural centers of Mexico, Paraguay-Argentina-chile, Venezuela, and Peru. He then turns his focus to his own field research in the Quichua culture of northern highland Ecuador, an area that has receive considerably less scholarly attention than many of its Latin American neighbors. The reader will meet a community of harp maistrus on the slopes of Mt. Cotacachi and become familiar with their culture, their particular instrument and its tuning, and their performance practices. Numerous photographs, musical transcriptions, and diagrams illustrate and enliven the text. The Indispensable Harp is unique for its integration of aspects of music and cultural history, organology, and performance practice, treating in considerable depth both broadly established music-ethnographical practices. It speaks to the conclusion that the vital role of the harp in Latin American music history has now been properly acknowledged and documented.
 

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Contents

Roots of the Latin American Diatonic Harp Sixteenth to Nineteenth Centuries
16
The Historical Background and the Modern Traditions of Ecuadorian Harp Practice
50
Maistrus de Arpa The Community of Quichua Harpists on the Slopes of Mount Cotacachi
89
In Contemporary Context The Role of the Harpist in the Northern Highland Quichua Childs Wake
151
The Ecuadorian Diatonic Harp in the Context of Other Modern Latin American Diatonic Harp Traditions
205
Conclusion
227
Appendixes
230
Notes
256
Bibliography
276
Discography
288
Copyright

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Page 33 - Lo característico del genio de los indios es en general la música. No hay instrumento, cualquiera que sea que no aprenden a tocar en breve tiempo, y lo hacen con tal destreza y delicadeza, que en los Maestros más hábiles se admiraría.
Page 19 - But he was lyk a maister or a pope. Of double worstede was his semycope, That rounded as a belle out of the presse. Somwhat he lipsed, for his wantownesse, To make his Englissh sweete upon his tonge; And in his harpyng, whan that he hadde songe, His eyen twynkled in his heed aryght, As doon the sterres in the frosty nyght.
Page 30 - Together with this much music of singers at each seat of honour, and trumpetry and all sorts of instruments, harps, guitars, violas, flutes, dulcimers and oboes...
Page 22 - Clavijo, donde ha habido juntas de lo más granado y purificado de este divino aunque mal premiado ejercicio. Juntábanse en el jardín de su casa el licenciado Gaspar de Torres, que en la verdad de herir la cuerda con aire y ciencia...
Page 41 - ... and large notches are cut on one side. The fiddle-stick is one of the ribs of a bullock, which is rubbed over the notches, and would, I conceive, in Europe, produce the same scene as the inimitable Hogarth has so well depicted in his Enraged Musician. The tiple is a small guitar played on at Cartago. I brought with me to England a very curious small harp, which was about three feet high, with three octaves of catgut strings. The sounding-board part was made of a whole gourd, large at the bottom...
Page 39 - The latter, at first appears a very aukward instrument for a woman; yet that prejudice is soon got over, and they far excel any other nation upon it. They are extremely complaisant and polite; and when asked either to play, dance, or sing, they do it without a moment's hesitation, and that with an exceeding good grace.
Page 39 - ... themselves with music and other entertainments, at which there is plenty of cooling liquors, as they are well supplied with ice from the neighbouring Cordilleras. At these assemblies, many intrigues are carried on ; for they think of nothing else throughout the year. Their fandangoes are very agreeable ; the women dance inimitably well, and very gracefully. They are all born with an ear for music, and most of them have delightful voices ; and all play upon the guitar and harp.

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