Dominican Republic lecture notes



merengue típico

q  oldest style of merengue

q  originated in the northern valley region around the city of Santiago called the Cibao, a rural, agricultural area -- the "country music" of the DR

q  denounced in the 1840s


q  elevation of status by dictator Rafael Trujillo (rules 1930-1961) -- decides that the rural style should be the Dominican national symbol, creating a place for the music on the radio and in respectable ballrooms


new style evolves -- orquesta merengue

q  "big band" instrumentation, replacing the accordion with a horn section


[adapted from]


q  powerful example of music, politics and national symbols


q  Garland Handbook example [1-35] “Dice Desidera Arias”


hispanidad, an ideology of “Hispanic racial and cultural purity” (p. 160); anti-Haitian, but . . . . “purity”??   It is a very mixed culture from the get-go.  good paper topic: contrast negritude in Haiti with hispanidad in the Dominican Republic with specific musical examples related to each. 


contemporary merengue

q  Pan-Latin/international popularity in the 1990s

q  Ex: Wilfrido Vargas, “Abusadora”


“Creole” -- conflicting definitions/usages (see glossary!)

1.     mixed/ mestizo

2.     African born in the New World

3.     unmixed European born in the New World


other recommended sources:

See: (short article on Dominican music by Prof. Mauleón of CCSF)
See: (short article on merengue by Prof. Mauleón)
See: (short article on bachata by Prof. Mauleón)


David Meckler

Feb 2010

Cañada College

 MUS 240 Music of the Americas