Date of Award

2018

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Music

First Advisor

Carol A. Muller

Abstract

ABSTRACT

CUBANEO IN LATIN PIANO: A PARAMETRIC APPROACH TO GESTURE, TEXTURE, AND MOTIVIC VARIATION

COPYRIGHT

Orlando Enrique Fiol

2018

Dr. Carol A. Muller

Over the past century of recorded evidence, Cuban popular music has undergone great stylistic changes, especially regarding the piano tumbao. Hybridity in the Cuban/Latin context has taken place on different levels to varying extents involving instruments, genres, melody, harmony, rhythm, and musical structures. This hybridity has involved melding, fusing, borrowing, repurposing, adopting, adapting, and substituting. But quantifying and pinpointing these processes has been difficult because each variable or parameter embodies a history and a walking archive of sonic aesthetics. In an attempt to classify and quantify precise parameters involved in hybridity, this dissertation presents a paradigmatic model, organizing music into vocabularies, repertories, and abstract procedures.

Cuba's pianistic vocabularies are used very interactively, depending on genre, composite ensemble texture, vocal timbre, performing venue, and personal taste. These vocabularies include: melodic phrases, harmonic progressions, rhythmic cells and variation schemes to replace repetition with methodical elaboration of the piano tumbao as a main theme. These pianistic vocabularies comprise what we actually hear.

Repertories, such as pre-composed songs, ensemble arrangements, and open- ended montuno and solo sections, situate and contextualize what we hear in real life musical performances.

Abstract procedures are the thoughts, aesthetics, intentions, and parametric rules governing what Cuban/Latin pianists consider possible. Abstract procedures alter vocabularies by displacing, expanding, contracting, recombining, permuting, and layering them.

As Cuba's popular musics find homes in its musical diaspora (the United States, Latin America and Europe), Cuban pianists have sought to differentiate their craft from global salsa and Latin jazz pianists. Expanding the piano's gestural/textural vocabulary beyond pre-Revolutionary traditions and performance practices, the timba piano tumbao is a powerful marker of Cuban identity and musical pride, transcending national borders and cultural boundaries.

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Music Theory Commons

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