Folk & Traditional Music of the Western Continents

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WESTERN FOLK MUSIC IN THE AMERICAS 189
not. Moreover, we can observe the various national European forms combining with each other and with the Indian and Negro tradi-
tions.
South American folk music
Latin American folk music, on the whole, has less of the old Hispanic heritage preserved in it than North American folk music has of the British tradition. Of course there is variation among na­tions in this respect. For example, Bolivia, which has a population largely of Indian descent, has a good deal of folk music with Spanish words and tunes using Indian instruments and accompanying dances of Indian origin. Argentina, with its population largely of European origin, may actually have preserved some medieval Spanish tunes. Cuba, of which a large segment of the population is of partially Af­rican descent, has developed a musical style with a mixture of Spanish and African stylistic traits. Brazilian folk music is much influ­enced by its Afro-American element. Colombia, which has essen­tially a very conservative cultural tradition and is geographically isolated by mountains and tropical forest, has preserved some of the oldest Spanish material known in the New World.
Again, as in the transfer of African material to the Americas, syncretism accounts for the creation of certain forms and the preser­vation of others. Thus, the development of characteristic and memo­rable rhythms that became the basis of Latin American popular dances-the rumba, samba, and conga-was probably made possible by the fact that both the West African and the Hispanic traditions favored complicated, driving rhythms with steady, pulsating pat­terns. The combination of stylistic elements from the Indian and Spanish populations of Bolivia and Peru (which did not occur be­tween the English and Indian styles in North America) was proba­bly in part due to the greater musical sophistication of the Peruvian and Bolivian populations as compared to the relatively simpler mu­sical cultures of the North American Indians.
The Latin American folk music scene is, then, a complex one, and we are again obliged to resort to a few examples of what is found rather than to try to survey in a few pages the entire wealth of song, dance, and instrument types.







E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III