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Playing in the CathedralMusic, Race, and Status in New Spain$
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Jesús A. Ramos-Kittrell

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190236816

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190236816.001.0001

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Music, Race, and Social Status

Music, Race, and Social Status

(p.26) 2 Music, Race, and Social Status
Playing in the Cathedral

Jesús A. Ramos-Kittrell

Oxford University Press

The aim of this chapter is to give the reader a broad glimpse of social life in eighteenth-century Mexico City and of the diverse spaces where musical activity occurred. The chapter argues that perceptions of status relied on a person’s social image. Even among Spaniards, elements such as institutional affiliation and occupation—more than race alone—informed views of someone’s social condition. In this light, the chapter shows that cathedral musicians used music as an activity allowing them to seek membership with the cathedral of Mexico to make a claim to “Spanish” status. The chapter also highlights the importance that this status had during the late eighteenth century. This was a time when social, political, and aesthetic transformations affected New Spain’s racial order and also its musical culture. The chapter closes by addressing how cathedral musicians coped with these changes.

Keywords:   music, race, limpieza de sangre, decency, colonial society

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