An Amalgam of Chilean Folk and Art Music: 12 Tonadas de carácter popular chileno by Pedro Humberto Allende

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Yong Im Lee (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Andrew Willis

Abstract: Pedro Humberto Allende (1885-1959), a pioneer in the development of contemporary music in Chile, was one of the most significant Chilean composers and a distinguished pedagogue, folklorist, and ethnomusicologist during the first half of the twentieth century. Many of his compositions include elements of Chilean folk tunes and dance rhythms that portray the Chilean cultural landscape. Among his works, the piano set 12 Tonadas de carácter popular chileno (1918-1922) stands out because of its originality. This work contains Chilean folk elements manifested in the tonada and cueca, genres unique to Chilean folk music. Influenced by impressionism and post-impressionism, each of the 12 Tonadas has a distinctive harmonic language including exotic and modal scales, bitonality, and a wide range of chromaticism and dissonances. The masterful blend of folk elements with complex and unique harmonies makes the 12 Tonadas de carácter popular chileno a noteworthy example of the compositional practices of the early twentieth century. After the introductory Chapter I, Chapter II outlines a brief history of Chilean art music from the sixteenth century to the end of the nineteenth century and sketches Allende's life, encompassing his musical influences and compositional styles. Chapter III describes the origins and musical characteristics of the Chilean folk genres tonada and cueca and their influence upon the 12 Tonadas. In Chapter IV, each of the twelve pieces is analyzed with respect to its harmonic, rhythmic, and formal scheme, from which a comparative analysis of the twelve as a whole is provided. Chapter V addresses the performance and interpretative issues of the composition through a comparison of recordings of Tonadas VI and VII by two pianists, Ricardo Viñes (1875-1943) and Oscar Gacitúa (1925-2001). Observations by the Chilean pianist Elvira Savi (b. 1921) and personal reflections by the author (b. 1976) complete the chapter. Despite the success achieved in Europe and South America during Allende's lifetime, the 12 Tonadas suffered neglect over the years and are today almost unknown outside Chile. The present study serves to revive an awareness of this unique work and ultimately to promote its study and performance by scholars and performers around the world.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2008
Folk Music, Composer
Allende, Pedro Humberto, $d 1885-1959. $t Tonadas de cara´cter popular chileno
Allende, Pedro Humberto, $d 1885-1959.
Composers $z Chile.
Folklore $z Chile.
Ethnomusicology $z Chile.
Folk music $z Chile.
Music $x Instruction and study $Chile.
Vine`s, Ricardo, $d 1875-1943
Gacitu´a, Oscar
Savi, Elvira.

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