There are musical practices that go beyond the category of musical genres. The terms used to talk about these forms lead to a constellation of other pre-existing and co-existing genres. The genesis and development of these forms are the products of various shared processes. They also have characteristics of assimilation: different ways of performing the same musical form and generic derivations that are the product of parallel development and cross-pollination of genres and media.
The characteristics shared by the various genres point out certain universal conventions that may be the product of the common colonial tradition and globalization. That is why in this article they are called metagenres, as they present a complex of musical practices instead of a unique and distinct way of making music.
The representative metagenres addressed here are the contradanza, the bolero, calypso, salsa, zouk and reggaeton. All have the colonial historical context of massive mobilization of regional populations in intra-Caribbean migratory patterns and emigration to the urban centers of the colonizing powers.
During the 19th century, the contradanza emerged as the music of the European and American social elites. It was a privileged form of expression on both sides of the
Meanwhile, calypso developed from the diverse musical traditions of
In the French Caribbean, zouk was the synthesis of various traditions among the Caribbean Creole-speaking populations. In another case, the post-modern condition of privileging transnational trends is shown in the example of reggaeton. This Puerto Rican music represents the migratory processes between countries in the Caribbean and
These metagenres not only cover a wide variety of musical practices, but are also evidence of dynamic, complex and adaptive human processes.
The contradanza is a trans-Atlantic musical metagenre that developed in the late 18th century and during the 19th century as a kind of national music. The rhythm, English in origin, went through adaptations first in
The music of the contradanza had a binary pattern of 2/4 or 6/8 time. The piece began with an introduction that was sometimes called the paseo. The composition adopted a form of repeating sections that used structures such as AABB, ABCC, ABCA or ABCD.
Figure dances were done to this music in which the dancing couples interacted with other couples. In society dances, this meant there was a pre-established choreography led by a caller. The danza used the same format as the contradanza, but was a dance of pairs.
The choreography of the contradanza group dancing was adapted by the people of African descent, who created the tumba dances of
The cinquillo cell, the so-called elastic tresillo and the simultaneous or combined use of ternary or binary subdivisions of the eighth notes established the bases for the development of the danzón, the danzonetes and the more elaborate forms of the popular guarachas. While the contradanza became the dance music of popular celebrations of a civic nature, the danza, being a dance by couples, was the music of the middle class, based on musical nationalism pushed by the class of professional musicians with training in the new local or European conservatories.
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