Hope Through Music

Love, Corina Villarreal


According to Katynka Martinez, the concepts of mariachi and ranchero are native to Mexico. Things like tejano and musica romantica are U.S-Mexico hybrids. A piece by Revueltas titled Colorines examples everything native of the Mexican nationalism.

I first listened to the piece, after listening to different pieces, this one caught my ear inevitably because it felt like a piece for band with strings instead of the other way around. The piece begins with heavy percussion that is rhythmic with different latin timbres and a clarinet voice solo. It is quick, loud, and feels a little chaotic. The image I could associate it with is people getting ready perhaps, or the sound of the outside with people talking and things moving around. The clarinet has the main melody when the low brass interjects them and the strings have this sort of falling line to add color. Most of the piece, it feels as if the winds carry the playful upbeat melody. This could signify the dancing that happens at a party or just in life. It automatically brings a joyful sort of timbre to the listener’s ear. That is, until about two minutes in when the tempo slows down significantly and becomes more melodic. The feel becomes as if it’s the slump of the day, or (on a heavier level) the day has gone bad due to government issues. This low energy section last a couple of minutes until the recapitulation of the introduction. It seems to have extra flourishes this time around, giving this sense of hope. A sense that all will be better in due time, perhaps.

This piece is important because it perfectly describes what was going on in Mexico at the time of the revolution. I find it important that we, as non-Mexicans, need to have this sort of appropriation for the music of Mexican composers. It’s interesting that this all happens when the media and politicians seem to think that all Mexicans can or are bad for this country. If we would take the time to understand what they, as a country, went through we wouldn’t be so quick to shun them out. Revueltas was an activist that took politics to his art, like most artists do. I find it more so important that his works get performed because he, unknowingly, documented what happened in the Mexican revolution through his music. It is through this listening that we can see that, even though this is/was struggle, there will always be hope for the nation.


Martínez, Katynka Z. “Regional Mexican Music.” Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press, accessed February 7, 2017, http://0-www.oxfordmusiconline.com.lib.utep.edu/subscriber/article/grove/music/A2093460.

Revueltas, Silvestre, writer. Colorines. Conducted by Gisele Ben-Dor. English Chamber Orchestra. 2016. Accessed February 6, 2017. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pw0k0BLUX_k.

Stevenson, Robert. Music in Mexico, a historical survey. New York: Crowell, 1971.

Stevenson, Robert. “Revueltas, Silvestre.” Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press, accessed February 7, 2017, http://0-www.oxfordmusiconline.com.lib.utep.edu/subscriber/article/grove/music/23289.



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