Three twentieth and twenty-first-century guitar sonatas from Latin America : tensions, certainties, and perspectives




Emilfork Diaz, Nicolas Maximiliano

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Mainstream trends in guitar studies tend to identify Latin-American music as intimately related to short dance forms. The definition of Latin-American music has become a question that many musicologists, composers, and performers have entertained during the last decades; this is especially true with regards to globalization processes that have affected current music practice, the industry, and academic endeavors. At the same time, avant-garde musicians of the twentieth-century have challenged current assumptions about Latin-American music. Conservatories experience tension between the reference to a European approach and the incorporation of national traditions. This is very transparent for the guitar, an instrument that has been used in folk traditions and classical concerts for two centuries. On the other side, works created by non-guitarist composers tend to be more ambitious and experimental. This reinforces established narratives while arguing us to rethink our approaches to Latin-American music. How can the guitar offer new perspectives? Composers such as Carlos Guastavino, Guido Santórsola, and Roberto Sierra have composed sonatas combining traditional Latin American features with Western European traditions. As a result, a new concept emerges, where composers create and elaborate a language that shares multicultural conception and structure. All these aspects reinforce the definition of a genre that we can call the “Latin American” sonatas. The sonata offers that possibility, by allowing the mixing of a diversity of styles. These sonatas analyzed in this document allow us to rethink the notion of Latin American music and to connect these composers’ work with their musical training, personal history, and aesthetic preferences



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