chapter  9
18 Pages

From Village to World Stage: The Malleability of Sinaloan Popular Brass Bands

Long before scholars began to show an interest in the relationship between music and globalizing processes, musics had crossed national, social, ethnic and racial boundaries. As one of Europe’s most significant cultural exports of the nineteenth century, the brass band was introduced to every colony overseas.1 The massmanufactured brass instruments reflected the Zeitgeist of the industrial era. In a time of technical excitement, mechanically sophisticated instruments came to symbolize progress and modernity. No wonder then that brass band music spread rapidly and took root across many cultures. Brass instruments were not only able to carry a melody, but also loud and durable, and thus ideal for outdoor performances. Technical improvements in the manufacturing of brass instruments in the 1840s were the principal reason for the evolution of instrumental ensemble musicking outside the professional, middle-and upper-class environment in which such activity had previously been centred. Valve mechanisms made it possible for amateur players to master the instruments after practising for a short time. Moreover, most of the brass instruments could be played interchangeably with similar mouthpieces and identical fingerings, and thus could be shared among bandsmen according to the needs of the ensemble.