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Dissertations (2005-2009)



Juan Carlos Ureña: Historia y estructura lírica de la canción popular hispanoamericana: El caso de Centroamérica

The Latin American popular song has emerged from a long historical process whose roots can be traced from Medieval music and poetry, the arrival of European and African music to the new world, and its fusion with the music and poetry that existed in the pre-Columbian Americas. Through these processes of conquest, transculturation, transmutation, and survival, music and poetry gave birth to folkloric Spanish and Latin American song. Contemporary Latin American and Spanish troubadours continue to explore and recreate the paths initiated centuries before by their ancestors. The present work establishes as its objective the study of the poetics of modern song in terms of its lyrical and musical structure, as well its historical development, and as part of the formation of Hispanic identity. In this sense, the analytic comparison between song lyrics and poetry becomes a relevant topic of this investigation. The analytic scope of this project necessitates a wide selection of poems and song lyrics representing the most important styles and trends of traditional and contemporary songs from Spain and Latin America. For this reason, medieval poetry and song; Latin American folkloric or traditional songs such as décimas, corridos, tangos, and boleros; and contemporary songs with social messages have been included in this study.

Even though setting poetry to music has been a common practice in the history of music, many scholars have concentrated strictly on the study of erudite composers and poets, leaving the study of the popular song to folklorists, anthropologists, and ethnomusicologists. However, setting poetry to music from the popular perspective gained importance in the Twentieth Century, prompting the new troubadours to pursue and elaborate a type of song that would maintain its popular character, but at the same time remain of high artistic quality. This practice produced an artistic form that has been studied very little: the Hispanic poetic song. A poem set to music becomes a new aesthetic object by generating new meanings and transcending the separate concepts of music and literature. This study gives depth to an area long neglected by academia. The communicative potential of these songs multiplies their importance, above all in a time in which superficiality, replication, and simulacra predominate in the medium of music and culture.

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