Puerto Rican Music as Representation of Their History and Culture

1423 Words 6 Pages
Puerto Rican Music as Representation of Their History and Culture

Puerto Rican music is an evolving art form that expresses Puerto Rican culture and identity. The development of Puerto Rican music is also a reflection of their history, both being complicated by several layers. Social, political, and economic conditions are all related to the musical expressions of Puerto Ricans (Glasser, 8). Puerto Rican migration to the United States and the culture clash experienced by migrants is another layer complicating the evolution of Puerto Rican music (Glasser, 199). Musical expression has been affected by every aspect of life for the Puerto Ricans and therefore is an illustration of the Puerto Rican experience.

Economic conditions in
…show more content…
One musical form excepted by the upper class is the danza. This form was considered European and was claimed by the upper class as the primary national music of Puerto Rico as an act of protest against Spain; The danza was initially view as a hybrid musical form,

"But with the growth of nationalist sentiment, the 'invasion' of Cuban and North American dance forms, the growing presence of Afro-Puerto Rican popular music from 'below', by the late nineteenth and early twentieth century the upper classes had positively sanctified the danza as the national music of Puerto Rico. Overtime and in defensive reaction to rapid social, economic, and political change, the danza became a potent national symbol" (Glasser, 195).

The irony of the elite's claim to the danza is that the musical profession was not considered a respectable occupation and was therefore only practiced by mulatos or negritos, mainly of the working class (Glasser, 58).It was common for Puerto Ricans of color to perform for white-only establishments (Glasser, 58)

For mulatos and negritos, music was a profession that could lead to social mobility (Glasser, 58). Many musicians were of the working-class and had primary jobs to support themselves during periods of unemployment for musical performers. Many worked as artisans, making cigars or producing coffee (Glasser, 50). Changing economic conditions on the island hindered the chances for social mobility for
Open Document