Friday, July 15, 2011
El Rancho Grande
People living in the area of today’s Mexico have a rich tradition of musical culture. During the Mayan civilization, ocarinas (flutes) and percussion instruments similar to maracas were used. The Aztec civilizations sang various kinds of hymns. When the Spanish defeated the Aztecs to conquer Mesoamerica (central region of Mexico), they imported a mix of Spanish violin and guitar music and the music of African slaves that traveled with them to Mexico.
When Mexico became independent from Spain at the turn of the 19th Century, Bohemian immigrants from Central Europe began to settle Northern Mexico (today’s Texas) bringing the waltz and polka dances to that area. In the 1830s, German immigrants established the first settlements from the Texas coastal plains into the hill country. This area became known as the German Belt. Bringing with it the accordion along with its waltzes and polkas, this culture mixed with the indigenous, Spanish, African and Cuban musical cultures already there to form the Ranchera style and the Nortenos music (a similar style found in the Northern Mexico).
From Book II of the O'Connor Method.