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Glossary of Terms




Abanico:  Fan, hanging from the neck with a black ribbon; right hand fanning of the strings used by the armonia.
Accord:  Chord
Adorno:  A musical embellishment played by the violins and trumpets.
Al bajón:  Literally, on the down beat
Aletón:  Literally, large wings; refers to the large flap that can be sewn on the side of the pant legs on the traje de charro; it can remain plain or have agreca sewn on to it.
A livito:  Slower and freely; ad libitum
Apagón:  A manico of the right hand across the strings of the guitar or vihuela in such a way that no distinct pitches are heard; used primarily in the huapangos and borrowed from joropo; also called tapón and tope.
Apoyadura:  (appoggiatura) this denotes a lower neighbor grace note; the apoyadura is more commonly used in the sones than any other music form and sometimes it may be accented.
Armonia instruments:  Guitar, guitarrón and vihuela.
Arqueos:  Bowings
Arracadas:  Earrings, pendant gold-filigrine metal.
Arrastrar el arco: (arco arrastrade) literally, drag the bow; back phrasing of the bow.


Bajo(s):  In the singular, generally means the guitarrón or a bass instrument; the plural refers to the bass notes.
Barra: The bar in the measure.
Botin(es):  Charro boots with low-cut uppers; also called botas de charro.
Botonadura:  Literally, set of buttons; the silver or chrome plated buttons are worn along the outside of the pant legs; a set of botonadura also includes the broche and special button for the sleeves also called plata.
Broch:  Brooch


Caballito:  Little horse, a manico technique used in sones Jaliscienses that is a repetition of three strums, two down and one up, with an accent on the second strum giving it a “galloping effect”
Cachirulo:  A large haircomb placed towards the back of the head.
Cadenas:  Chains, gold metal and long, worn around the collar.
Cadenas:  Chains, gold metal and long, worn around the collar.
Cameos:  Two cameos used to pin the scarf or “mantilla” (Spanish head cover), one in the front at the breast and the other in the back.
Camisa:  Shirt. A white or light colored “guayabera” in cotton, with a collar, a yoke in the front and back, embellished with vertical pleats both in the front and back, four fake pockets, long sleeves and a finished cuff.
Camison o enagua larga:  Gown. White poplin long slip with a square neck and crocheted sleeve called rejillado. The gown is ankle-length with a crocheted finish or lace.
Cerrucho:  Literally a saw, legato notes employing the bow for each note.
Cinto pitiado:  Braided belt worn with the charro suit (this belt is handmade and very expensive).
Classroom instruments:  Typically used in the general music classroom (e.g., recorder type instruments, chorded zithers mallet instruments, simple percussion instruments, fretted instruments, keyboards, and electronic instruments.
Classroom production:  The exploration of all aspects of dramatic work (such as visual, oral, aural) in a classroom setting where experimentation is emphasized; classmates and teachers are the usual audience.
Con puntillo:  Literally, with a point, the dotted note (example: a negra con puntillo is a dotted quarter note).
Constructed meaning:  The personal understanding of dramatic/artistic intentions and actions and their social and personal significance, selected and organized from the aural, oral and visual symbols or a dramatic production.
Context:  A set of interrelated conditions (such as social, economic, political) that influence the context and give meaning to the reception of thoughts, ideas or concepts and specific cultures and eras.
Contratiempo:  Literally, against time; counter rhythms; that is distinct characteristic sound in the sones, but also in most tradition forms in Mexican music.
Corrida: Literally, running too fast.
Corrido:  A musical form similar to a ballad, where there is no refrain in the lyrics. In Mexican music, the majority of corridos are in 3/4 time, but there are many in 4/4.
Crescendo:  Increasing loudness.
Criticism:  Describing and evaluating the media, processes and meanings of works, and making comparative judgements.
Cuerda(s):  The melodic parts (1a, 2a, 3a) the strings on an instrument.


Deaccelerando:  Decreasing in loudness.
De cajón:  Literally, ordinary: the standard embellishments and endings for music form.
Delantal:  Apron. Black velvet apron with silk-embroidered flowers in various hues. The apron is tied to the waist in the back with wide black ribbons forming a large bow.
Dynamics, dynamic level:  The expressive content of the human movement, sometimes called qualities of affects; dynamics manifest the interrelationships among the elements of space, time and force/energy; degrees of loudness: see also movement quality.


Ebilla:  Belt buckle.
Elements of music:  Melody, rhythm, harmony, pitch dynamics, timbre, texture and form.
Environment:  Physical surroundings that establish place time and atmosphere/mood, the physical conditions that reflect and affect the emotions, thoughts , and actions of characters and the audience.
Escala:  A scale, scale-run


Falda:  Skirt. White organza, circular-cut, sewn in sections, embellished with lace in the form of diamonds, fans or butterflies between two seams and with a pleated ruffle at the edge.
Falsete:  Falsetto; a vocal technique.
Folk:  Work created and performed by a specific group within a culture; generally these works originated outside the courts or circle of power within a society.
Folklórico:  Related to music and dance of Mexico.
Form:  Overall structural organization of music composition (e.g., AB, ABA, call and response, rondo, theme and variations, sonata allegro) and the interrelationships of music events within the overall structure; the structural organization and drama (e.g., plot, sequence, logical, realistic use of time and character).
Formal production:  The staging of a dramatic work for presentation for an audience.
Forte:  Loud, usually indicated by f.
Fuerte:  Forte.


Genre:  A type or category of music; e.g., sonata, opera, oratorio, art song, gospel, jazz, madrigal, march, work song, lullaby, barbershop, dixieland.
Golpes:  Literally, blows or strikes; staccato at the frog of the bow, usually all-down-bow; then crisp strum pattern on the guitar instruments used in the sones.
Greca:  A type of design sewn on the aletón or on the side of the pant legs; made of suede; it can be worn with or without botonadura.


Harmony, harmonics:  Agreeable relationship between the parts of design or composition giving unity of effect or an aesthetically pleasing whole; the combination of tones of a chord into music of 3 or more.


Improvisation:  Movement that is created spontaneously, ranging from free-form to highly structured environments, but always with an element of chance; provides the dancer with the opportunity to bring together elements quickly, and simultaneous choreography and performance the spontaneous use of movement and speech to create a character in a particular situation.
Intermedio:  The instrumental music played between cantos, usually the same variation of the entrada; literally intermission.
Intruducción:  Introduction.


Jalón:  Literally, pull; the right hand pulling technique of playing the guitarrón.
Jarabe:  Literally, syrup. A traditional dance from that is like a popurri (medley) of instrumental sections of different regional sones, each section usually is in different meter than the preceding section.


Ligado, ligadura:  Slurred.
Liso:  Plain, as in “plain black uniform,” traje liso negro.


Manicos:  The different strum patterns on the vihuela or guitar.
Mayor:  The major key; a major or whole step.
Menor:  The minor key; a minor or half step.
Moño:  Literally, topknot the “tie” used around the shirt collar with the charro suit.
Motas:  Ready-to-wear collar ties; not made of the same material as the moño, and usually has three balls hanging from the knot; also called motitas and gargantillas.
Música:  Music , written music; the intermedio music.


Pajero:  Literally, even manico used in sones Jalisciences that simply up and down strums with no accents.
Paliacate:  Handkerchief. Red cotton handkerchief folded in a triangle and inserted into the apron at one end.
Pantalón:  Pants. White, straight leg cut usually linen or drill.
Panuelo o Mantilla:  Scarf. A white cotton or tulle wrap embroidered in silk forming a triangle wrap over the shoulder and held in place with the cameos.
Pa’rriba, pa’bajo:  Literally, up and down; another name for the manico pajero; it is understood amongst the vihuela players that variation of this strum is to start up on the strong beat, and this stroke is called “pa’rriba” (up).
Peinado:  The hairdo. Consists of two braids intertwined with ribbons, the same color as the rebozo; they cross at the nape and are tied at the crown with the leftover ribbon. Single and engaged women place a small bouquet of flowers on the left side of their head and married women wear flowers on the right side; a large haircomb called a cachirulo is placed towards the back of the head.
Picado:  Staccato bowing at the frog of the bow, usually all down-bow; the staccato tonguing technique for the trumpets, which is very characteristic of the mariachi trumpet style.
Popurri:  Medley.
Primera:  Literally, first; in music theory the first melodic line in the instruments or the voice.
Primera posición:  First position; in order to get a loud sound from violins, most sones are played in the first position as much as possible.


Quedado, quedadito:  A rubato technique that avoids melodic accents on the beat, or the off beat.


Ranchera:  A musical style in 2/4, 3/4 or 4/4; usually in a major key. The ranchera is also a feeling. The types of ranchera are: the ranchera corrido or polka in 2/4; ranchera valsada in 3/4 and the ranchera romantica in 4/4. There is always an entrada, canto intermedio, canto, and depending on the type of ranchera a cajón ending.
Rebozo:  Shawl, usually in silk; rebozo de Santa Maria and the same color as the ribbons.
Redoble:  A manico technique used in sones; the armonia plays two down strums and one up strum twice within the same measure.
Remate:  Literally, to top or to end; also called remache or adorno de cajón; that occurs at the end of the phrase, to connect the phrases, and at the end of the entrada.
Ritmo:  Rhythm; also ritmo is a tempo.


Saltiar el arco:  Ricochet bowing
Segunda:  Literally, second; in music theory, the second melodic line is in harmonization with the primera; the segunda line, traditionally is in parallel motion to the primera when there is also a tercera and can move contrary to the primera when there are only two parts.
Segunda posición:  Second position.
Sencilla:  Literally, simple or simply. It means that the music in the song will be played with out repeats.
Sobon:  Slur or portamento; this technique is used minimally in the sones, and regularly in the ranchera romantica, ranchera valsada and bolero.
Sombrero:  Hat. White hat woven of fine palm, with a thin black cotton trim on the crown; and four ties.
Son:  A generic from identifying a regional sound music. The sound is usually a very traditional instrumental, vocal or danced piece.
Son Huasteco:  A 6/8 with sesquialtera (hemiola) rhythmic pattern; traditionally, the son huasteco came from the Huasteca region just north of Veracruz and further along the Gulf of Mexico; a distinct characteristic of the son huasteco or Huapangos, is the falsetto jumps in the vocal technique.
Son Jaliscience:  A 12/8 rhythmical pattern with sesquialtera (hemiola) and contratiempos in the melody and manicos; the son jaliscience is from the State of Jalisco, making it very much a part of the traditional repertory of the mariachi; there is usually an entrada, verso, coro (either responsorial or separated refrain) a third section of music with new verses and a shortened version of the entrada to finish; there are also sones Jaliscienses that do not fit the 12/8 pattern, that technically and musically are very difficult to play; these are some of the oldest sones in the repertory.
Son Jarocho:  From the Sate of Veracruz, jarocho means “brisk” which describes the music and dance of this tradition the vocal timbre is the high but does not use the falsetto technique of the Huapango; although, since the two areas are close in proximity, they are known to borrow or exchange repertory.
Soplar:  Literally, the verb “to blow”; in mariachi terminology, to prompt someone with the lyrics of a song.


Tercera posición:  Third position.
Tono:  The key (of a song).
Traje:  Suit.
Traje de Campero:  A suit that uses bone buttons on the sleeves and chest.
Traje de Charro:  Charro suit, or mariachi suit.
Traje Chinaco:  A suit with wide bell-bottom pant legs, cut from the shin down where a piece of bright colored cloth is sewn in.


Vals:  Waltz; also one of the 3/4 forms of the ranchera.
Verso:  Verse.
Voz fingida:  Literally, faked voice, head tone.