Students will learn to play jarana, which provides the harmonic scaffold for son jarocho. This one unit class introduces students to the songs and instrumental techniques of son jarocho, a musical genre from Veracruz, Mexico that mixes indigenous Mexican, African, Spanish, and Arabic sounds


Policies: Please do not miss more than two classes over the course of the semester (more absences will result in a failing grade). In addition to weekly rehearsals with the ensemble, students will be expected to practice on their own. Jaranas are available on reserve in the music department. Students may check them out AFTER 5:00 PM on weekdays or on weekends and practice in one of the two study rooms in the music library. Students are expected to practice at least twice weekly. There will be a public performance during that last class period of the semester.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Jarana & Son Jarocho

The Son Jarocho of southern,Veracruz is one of the most dynamic variations of the musical/dance genre known as the Son Mexicano. The "folk music" of Mexico, the Son Mexicano emerged during the colonial period as a mix in between Spanish, Indigenous, and African, music and dance. As early as the 16th century, the Spanish introduced the native indigenous population to stringed instruments such as the violin, harp, and various guitar-types. These three instruments thus became an "instrumental core" and for the next 300 years natives and Mestizos developed their own regional stringed instruments on the European models. Some of these instruments are the vihuela of the west coast, the jarana huasteca of the eastern-central regions, and the jarana jarocha of Southern Veracruz. As a distinct regional instrumentation developed so did a distinct regional music/dance tradition. Just as the Son Huasteco from east-central Mexico and the west coast Son de Mariachi have their own characteristics the Son Jarocho can be distinguished by its percussive rhythms, syncopation, vocal style, and improvisation in its harmonic and rhythmic framework and verse.

The most fundamental and common jarocho instrument is the jarana. Most likely derived from the XVI century Spanish Baroque guitar, the jarana has eight to twelve strings grouped in five courses. It is strummed in a chordial manner called a rasgueo and furnishes the rhythmic and harmonic framework of the son jarocho.