Saturday, October 12, 2019

The Culture and Music of Puerto Rico Essay -- culture Cultural History

The Culture and Music of Puerto Rico In the first decade of American rule, Puerto Rican culture was influenced drastically by its status as a US possession. Although the political and economic aspects of American influence were very significant, American rule also had a great impact on Puerto Rican culture. This is expressed through the development of Puerto Rican music both on the island and in the United States. Puerto Rican music not only became an important cultural icon, but also helped to determine the new identity of the Puerto Rican both on the island and the mainland. Under Spanish rule, Puerto Rican music had been shaped by the prejudices of their oppressors and the divisions between the peasant class and the upper class elites. Many people argued over what was true Puerto Rican music and culture, and the more powerful members of Puerto Rican society controlled the music that represented the island. For this reason, under Spanish colonization, the occupying country recognized the most refined and European-sounding music, the danza. However, the music of the lower classes also served as a means to declare an identity separate from the Spaniards. In this way, Puerto Rican music at this time had the influence of both Europe and its own native culture. According to Glasser, "it is likely that in this way the vals, the mazurka, and other European dances penetrated much of the Puerto Rican countryside and were absorbed, with some modifications, into the jibaro repertoire. (Glasser 26)" In other words, the refined European style that was forced onto the m by Spain and other types of music became part of Puerto Rican music, and part of their culture. Puerto Rican music and culture further developed when the United States ... ...uence. In addition to this, Puerto Rican music demonstrates that although there was outside influence, the Puerto Rican identity still grew strong. This is demonstrated by the various protest songs, and the strong ties between musicians on the island and on the mainland. In the face of early US colonization, Puerto Rican culture came under the same conflicts as it did under Spanish rule, and reacted much in the same way. While US intervention may have masked the appearance of "true" Puerto Rican music and culture, the lives and the works of the Puerto Ricans themselves showed that it is possible both to accept new cultural themes and to struggle to preserve one’s native culture at the same time. Works Cited Glasser, Ruth. My Music is my Flag: Puerto Rican Musicians and Their New York Communities 1917-1940. University of California Press, Los Angeles, 1995.

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