Venezuelan Music and Literature

Venezuelan Music and Literature

Venezuelan music

Venezuelan music [v-], collective term for the music of the various population groups living in Venezuela (indigenous people, mestizos, Afro-Venezuelans).

The music of the indigenous people, who are mainly resident in the Amazon region, is predominantly integrated into the ritual practices of the individual tribes. These include incantation chants, music for birth rituals and initiation rites, dance songs and lullabies. The focus is on the shamans, who act as mediators – often in a trance state – between the here and the transcendent. The instruments consist of wind and percussion instruments, but the Venezuelan national instrument, the Cuatro, is also used in some cases.

The music of the Creoles and Mestizos is shaped by the Spanish influence. String instruments – especially harp, cuatro, guitar, bandola and tiple – are predominant here. In addition, drums (Tambora, the Furruco grating drum) as well as wood and brass instruments are used. Music and dance are closely related to Catholic holidays. During the Christmas season, aguinaldos are mostly performed by smaller ensembles. On the feast of St. Anthony on June 13th, the Tamuangue is played in the state of Lara. The national dance Joropo with the frequently used instruments harp, cuatro and maracas is widespread throughout the country in various regional forms.

In the Afro-Venezuelan communities of the coastal areas, various drums (Mina, Curbata, Tambor Grande) are predominant in the instruments of the ensembles, which differ from one another in sound, dimensions and playing style. Even there, however, the music is mostly closely related to Catholic festivities.

All over Venezuela, especially in the eastern coastal regions, Margarita Island and Coche Island, there are Diversiones, theatrical performances that are performed by smaller groups with musical accompaniment.

Urban popular music, which is meanwhile also widespread in rural areas, has pushed many traditional forms of music into the background or even replaced them. Gaita music from the Maracaibo area is particularly popular, as is salsa, merengue and other Latin American music styles. In the ensembles, traditional instruments (cuatro, maracas, various drums) are often mixed with modern electronic or electrically amplified instruments.

The art music of Venezuela goes back to the time of the colonization by the Spaniards. The focus was initially on ecclesiastical compositions (motets, Villancicos) with which a.o. the natives were converted to Catholicism. In the further course of history, Venezuelan art music was mostly shaped by contemporary European styles. Vicente Emilio Sojo (* 1887, † 1974) is considered the most important composer of the 20th century.

Venezuelan literature

According to thefreegeography, Venezuelan literature, is part of Latin American literature in Spanish.

According to the Spanish chroniclers Pedro de Aguado († after 1589) and Pedro Simón (* around 1574, † 1630), a Creole, José de Oviedo y Baños (* 1671, † 1738), wrote a history of Venezuela in 1723.

The European Enlightenment found its expression in the work of the polyhistor A. Bello. Stylistically, he and other poets, such as Fermín Toro (* 1807, † 1865) and Rafael María Baralt (* 1810, † 1860), remained in the neoclassical era beyond the era of the struggle for freedom.

The transition to Romanticism was marked by the historical-biographical essays by Juan Vicente González (* 1811, † 1866). From the group of romantic poets, only José Antonio Maitín (* 1804, † 1874) with his descriptions of nature and Juan Antonio Pérez Bonalde (* 1816, † 1892) found broader recognition. The novels by Gonzalo Picón Febres (* 1860, † 1918) and Manuel Vicente Romero García (* 1865, † 1917) contained realistic descriptions of popular life.

The modernism manifested v. a. in the nuanced prose of the novels by M. Díaz Rodríguez and the stories by Pedro Emilio Coll (* 1872, † 1947). The contemporary satirical novels by R. Blanco Fombona grew out of modernism.

In response to modernism, members of the 1918 generation sought to combine European norms with national issues. The most famous lyric poet of this group was Andrés Eloy Blanco (* 1897, † 1955). The novels by R. Gallegos give a complex picture of the country. José Rafael Pocaterra (* 1889, † 1955) and T. de la Parra described the upper classes corrupted by decades of dictatorship.

With the return of many emigrants after the death of the dictator J. V. Gómez (1935) – belatedly – avant-garde tendencies (ultraism, surrealism) established themselves. The organ of the innovators was the journal »Viernes«, whose staff included the poets Ángel Miguel Queremel (* 1899, † 1939) and Vicente Gerbasi (* 1913, † 1992). The prose writers of this generation also experimented with new narrative techniques (Julio Garmendia, * 1898, † 1967; Antonio Arráiz, * 1903, † 1962; Ramón Díaz Sánchez, * 1903, † 1968; A. Uslar Pietri; M. Otero Silva).

The turning away from portraying the rural milieu in favor of shaping the problems of modern Caracas, which began in the late 1950s, has characterized literature to the present day. Well-known prose authors include Salvador Garmendia (* 1928, † 2001), Adriano González León (* 1931, † 2008), José Balza (* 1939), Laura Antillano (* 1950). The tendency towards internalization that v. a. the poetry of Rafael Cadenas (* 1930), Alfredo Silva Estrada (* 1933, † 2009) and Luis Alberto Crespo (* 1941) is influenced by younger poets such as Rafael Arráiz Lucca (* 1959) replaced in favor of an objectivistic representation.

Venezuelan Music and Literature

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