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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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Decency in the Music Chapel

Decency in the Music Chapel

(p.128) 5 Decency in the Music Chapel
Playing in the Cathedral

Jesús A. Ramos-Kittrell

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the reasons the music chapel lost its internal organization and its corporate benefits. To do this, the chapter is divided into two parts. Part one outlines the aesthetic, ideological, and financial factors that created this situation. Part two, then, continues with a narrative of how these issues affected cathedral musical activity. This second part shows that the music chapel became vulnerable to competition from musicians of mixed race and others expelled from the church within the context laid out in part one. Part two also explains how this context influenced the efforts of cathedral musicians to recover the corporate integrity of the music chapel. Finally, the chapter closes by showing that the invocation of “decency,” as a racialized discourse of status, was central to these efforts: it was an attempt by the corporation to regain its former position during a time when musicians of different races and social qualities competed for Spanish corporate privileges.

Keywords:   music chapel, cathedral musicians, decency, race, music thought

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