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Mexican Song and the Genesis of 20th-Century Mexican Modernism: The Case for a Virtual Repository of Mexican Song of the Early 20th Century


Mexican music, at the turn of the 20th century, was primarily composed, taught, and performed following late romantic European music models. Four Mexican composers of this era, however, sought to compose Mexican modernist music devoid of the old European influence, via four very distinct movements: Julián Carrillo with his microtonal Sonido 13, Manuel M. Ponce with post-Romantic nationalism, Carlos Chávez with indigenism, and Silvestre Revueltas with Mexicanism. The relevant work of these composers and their uniquely original modernism has remained in relative obscurity, even as world music academicism grew through the 20th century. This document presents the four composers and their respective movements in the historical context within which they evolved. Their compositional style and modernist approach are discussed as it applies to song and other genres. The publication of Mexican Song of the Early 20th Century and the creation of the Virtual Repository of Early 20th Century Mexican Song are proposed as a path toward greater exposure and dissemination of Mexican modernist song, with the goal of stimulating public interest and academic study of Mexican music from this era.

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