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Música de América

(Buenos Aires, 1920-1922)

Prepared by Ana Uribe Law
Online only (2023)

Música de América [RIPM code MAM] was published monthly from March 1920 until December 1921 with a final issue appearing in February-March 1922. A total of 23 issues were published, formatted as single column articles, with generally 42 pages per issue. Its significance in early twentieth century Latin American musical journalism can be closely tied to its advocacy for Argentinian and South American musicians, while also serving as a space for “combat and culture without personalismo, open to all opinions, wherein attack and defense will sit side by side on our pages as long as they both inspire the utmost highest interests of art.”1

Música de América was co-directed by Gastón O. Talamón and Nestor Cisneros until April 1921, when Cisneros, a critic and musicologist, left the editorial group to endeavor in “professional work.” Gastón O. Talamón was a renowned Argentinian musicologist and critic who wrote for various journals, such as La Prensa and Nosotros, and held strong beliefs on nationalistic music in Argentina. This perspective is directly reflected in Música de America. During a time when European influence was still ever-present in the Americas, the editors of Música de America sought to disassociate themselves from European (especially Italian) music in Argentina and Latin America, and the editors continuously championed national composers and artists. While European composers and events are still discussed throughout the journal, the musical supplement is entirely dedicated to pieces written by Argentinian composers such as Alberto Williams, José Maria Castro, Eduardo Fornarini, Edmundo Pallemaerts, José María Valle Riestra, along with other Latin Americans such as Hector Villa-Lobos (Brazil) and Manuel M. Ponce (Mexico).

Each issue contains various sections which encompass diverse musical topics and address a broad range of readers. “Conciertos” and “Conservatorios” provide reviews and updates on local musical news, concerts, and lyric opera from various organizations in Buenos Aires such as the Asociación Wagneriana, Sociedad Argentina de Música de Cámara y Sinfónica, and Asociación Filarmónica Argentina. Reviews of activities at major local conservatories and schools are also addressed, including Conservatorio de Música de Buenos Aires, Conservatorio Thibaud-Piazzini, Singakademie, and Conservatorio Rossegger. “Notas extranjeras” provides musical updates from foreign countries. “Actualidad artistica” is an extensive section at the end of each issue that collects photographs and sketches of Argentinian composers, musicians, students, and performances.

Each issue contains four articles, focusing on different musical topics ranging from pre-Columbian indigenous and colonial music styles, artistic and nationalistic movements in the Americas, political aspects pertaining the arts and theatre in Buenos Aires, and profiles of important European and Latin American composers like Richard Strauss, Erik Satie, Hector Villa-Lobos, Alberto Nepomuceno, and Ricardo Viñes. Contributors include Sixto M. Durán, Manuel María Ponce, Gastón O. Talamón, Edmundo Pallemaerts, Víctor de Rubertis, Alejandro Savelieff, Vicente Forte, and Jaime Molins.

Articles related to Argentinian music folklore and traditions, as well as studies of Incan and pre-Columbian music, are a significant contribution to the expansion of Latin American musical studies within the Americas, signaling a change in scholarly and popular interests. Such articles range from observations on musical archeology related to indigenous peoples, Sixto M. Durán’s research into a tonal system in Incan music; an analysis of the archaeological complex of Tiahuanaco and the emergence of art and music therein by Jaime Molins; musical peculiarities in other Latin American countries, including México, by Manuel M. Ponce; forgotten indigenous instruments like the erque by Juan Carlos Dávalos; and traditional styles of music in Argentinian rural areas such as the vidalita and yaraví by Joaquín González. Argentinian song and dance, particularly those attributed to gauchos, plañidores, and payadores is also extensively discussed, particularly by Ricardo Rojas and Leopoldo Lugones. Ernesto Vernavá’s article, “Inter Nos” explores artistic growth in Argentina throughout 1920, a time of strikes and the “Spanish flu,” as they intertwined with the musical scene in Buenos Aires.

1 “A nuestros lectores.” Música de América 1, no. 1 (March 1920).