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History And Influence Of Latin Music

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The history and influences of Latin American music started in the 1550 by the Moorish and African slaves. This style of music has a mix of influences by the European, African, and Indigenous people. In my essay I will mainly focus on the history of Lain music and how it started and the influences from Africa; how the slaves brought drums and other instruments to create the beat of Lain Music. The styles of Lain Music gave each and every country of Latin America their own style. For example, Tango of Argentina, Samba of Brazil, Salsa of Cuba, Mariachi of Mexico and so on.

In the times of pre-Columbian, the three great civilizations of Maya, Inca, and Aztec had their own kind of music to please the evil gods and for ceremonial and ritual events. For example, the Aztec music was based on six instruments. The tlapitzalli, a shape of a flute or ocarina, the atecocolli tepuzquiquiztli, a conch shell trumpet, the ayacachtli, maracas made out of bones, the teponaztli a percussion instrument, the huehuetl a drum instrument made out from a tree trunk, and a omitzicahuastli, a bone instrument that looked like a grater. Music was always played in festivals, and a particular song was played for each big event. As the next period came the music evolved to more detailed pieces.

When Spain and Portugal started to settle on American land in the colonial period, the Spanish and Portuguese brought their culture along with them, where the indigenous people began the use their influence of arts. In this period it was famous of playing these kinds of music in churches to convert Indians into Catholicism and every child that went to school were taught to sing for the church as services. When the Christmas season came, autos were introduced to the Indians and they were highly influenced the later music of Latin America. At this time, the colonist of Europe brought European instruments and the natives quickly adopted these, but because the Indians tried not to copy the exact instrument, they would construct similar ones but with better quality. But for other instruments for example the guitar, the Indians would changing the tuning of the strings or change the guitar box with an armadillo shell. The most important development of Latin American music during the Colonial Period was in the 16th century when African slaves were sent to the Caribbean Islands and Brazil, and this is where the base of contemporary Latin American music started.

Latin America gained independence during the early 19th century. With the independence, music shifted its status in leadership. In the 19th century the musical life of Latin American started using the piano to produce salon music. Many different kinds of Latin American music was produced but not all kinds were so popular. Italian lyricism, German and French romanticism were the three biggest influences to Latin American composers of the 19th century. By the end of 19th century, Latin America started to not lean so much towards the European traditions and started to create national music. As this new development of nationalism music, composers started to focus more into folk and popular themes. In this new development, Brazil began to use native melodies to compose their music.

Highly influenced by European colonization and the African slaves, they brought vibrant rhythms and melodies from their homeland. Latin America contains mixtures of cultural influences by Europeans, Moors, Mexicans, and Africans. Moorish people also known as Afro-Caribbean culture came forth. In 1776 Moorish people were prohibited to play drums and the Caribbean slaves were allowed, which were just for recreation, entertainment, and the most important, communication. Their drums were used to carry messages, tell history, struggles, and joy. All of these played the traditional Moorish and African rhythms, beated on a drum.

These rhythms were spread and developed throughout the Caribbean during the eighteenth and nineteenth century and around that time another American art form was beginning to build up which contained a rich cultural mix. The four countries of Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, and Mexico had the vastest influence on music in the United States. These influences included Latin rhythms and/or dances fluttered the United States, like the Samba from Brazil, Tango from Argentina, and the Mariachi from Mexico.

Brazilian music had a mixed of African traditions and European concepts. This kind of music is filled with African themes, and in the Black musical heritage a well-known composer Heitor Villa-Lobos has found his inspiration. Many styles of Caribbean music have become widely known, like the mambo from Cuba and the salsa from Puerto Rico. The word “samba” first appeared in 1838 where it originally originated from a African dance known as the mesemba. History has said that the African-Brazilian people in the working class of Rio de Janeiro probably invented the samba. The rhythms of the samba had three roles: to sing, dance, and to parade at carnivals. Ernesto does Santos; a black musician recorded the first samba song in 1916. When Manuel Diniz opened a maxixe academy in Paris, the samba dance gained much popularity in Europe in 1921. Samba’s name was for its rhythm, but there were different kinds of samba. The most fast paced and extreme was the batucada. The batucada is both the name for a large samba percussion group and a drumming style with two rhythms mixed together.


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