Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)

Document Type



Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Richard Domek

Second Advisor

Dr. Scott J. Wright


In the centuries since the colonization of the New World, the people of Cuba created a strong musical tradition. Initially, their music mirrored the European composition canons of structural, melodic and harmonic order. The eventual confluence of its distinct cultural elements (i.e. the European, African, and, to a lesser extent, Amerindian) led to the emergence of a new, distinctly Cuban musical tradition.

The wars for independence that began in the United States and Europe in the eighteenth century created a surge towards political and cultural autonomy that swept across the Latin American colonies, generating a wave of nationalism during the nineteenth century. After finally gaining its independence in 1902, Cuba sought to define itself as a nation. Cubans looked inward to their regional folklore—their indigenous and popular traditions—for the source of their national identity, a trend that became of primary interest to Cuban artists. The nationalist trend found full musical expression during the twentieth century, when composers turned to folklore for their inspiration in creating new art music (works for the concert hall) with a unique sound and vitality.

This study concerns itself with the Cuban nationalist movement and its role in the creation of art music by twentieth-century Cuban composers, most specifically that of Mario Abril. The monograph is organized into three general sections: the first section (Chapters 2 and 3) identifies the significant characteristics of nationalism, describes the manifestation of some relevant nationalist movements (e.g., in Europe and Latin America), and explores the manifestation of the nationalist movement in Cuba. The second section (Chapters 4 and 5) provides a history of Cuban art music, concluding with a biographical sketch of composer Mario Abril. The third part (Chapters 6 and 7)consists of a study of the music, beginning with a description of the pertinent characteristics of Cuban popular music, followed by an examination Mario Abril’s Fantasía (Introduction and Pachanga) for clarinet and piano. The document concludes with remarks about the characteristics that qualify the work as an example of Cuban nationalist art music with suggestions for the study and interpretation of the work.



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