History of Mariachi Music


Mariachi and it's Roots

The roots of the Mariachi go back hundreds of years.  It was the music of country people; music that celebrated the joys, the struggles, and the triumphs of the Mexican people.  The Mariachi was a version of Spanish theatrical orchestra containing violins, guitars, and a harp.  Groups were small and not generally known outside of the region from which they came.

The musical form and ensemble of the Mariachi developed differently from region to region.  The ensemble that is familiar today began to take shape in the the nineteenth century in the state of Jalisco.  In other areas such as Veracruz and Huasteca, the northeast region of the country, the ensemble evolved differently.  By the end of the nineteenth century, the cocula or the vihuela, two violins, and the guitarron were the instruments of the Mariachi.

By the 1950's the Mariachi ensemble was becoming more flexible and orchestral without losing it's traditional base.  The classical guitar, two trumpets and more violins were added to make the ensemble more adaptable and able to play different styles other than the son (a type of traditional folk song that is an essential element to the mariachi repetoire).

The Mariachi at Special Occasions

The Mariachi has continued to be a huge part in the celebration of the moments of the lives of the Mexican people.  In a society where young people of the opposite sex are kept separated, the serenata is a means of communication from a young man to a woman that he is courting.  The serenata is a musical message of love delivered by the Mariachi on his behalf.

It is common to be woken up with the sounds of Las Mananitas in the early morning.  This is a traditional song used to celebrate saint's days and birthdays.  Mariachis are commonly one form of entertainment at baptisms, weddings, holidays, and funerals.

Mariachi music has been incorporated into the Roman Catholic Church as the music to accompany the ceremony.  La Misa Panamericana is a Mariachi folk Mass that uses the Mariachi ensemble to create the group's interpretation of traditional Mass music.  

The Mariachi continues to be a common and essential source of entertainment in Mexico and now more and more in the Southwest region of the United States.



What is Involved in Singing?    What is a Mariachi Ensemble?    What is the difference in Training Between Genres?    Vocal Problems in Mariachi Singers    The Speech-Language Pathologist's Role    Glossary of Terms Related to Singing    Links    References



























Source: History of the Mariachi from Puro Mariachi web site (see reference page for complete listing).