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International Music Resources by Country: Mexico

International Music Resources offers an array of online and physical resources both freely available and/or offered by the George F. DeVine Music Library. The information included in these guides may serve as a starting point for the study and research of

City of Toluca
Citation (1)

Map of Mexico

Citation (3)


Garland Encyclopedia of World Music-Mexico

Garland Encyclopedia of World Music Cover Art

Mexican Music

Songs from Mexico- Album Art

Traditional Music from Mexico-Album Art

Juan Reynoso: Genius Of Mexico's Tierra Caliente-Album Art

Facts in Brief

Mexico: Country Flag


Capital: Mexico City

Official Language: Spanish

Current Population: 128,972,439

Area: 1,964,375*

Climate: The climate varies with altitude. The tropical southern region and the coastal lowlands are hot and wet, while the highlands of the central plateau are temperate. Much of the north and west is arid desert. The overall mean monthly temperature is 21°C (70°F).

Main Religions: Christianity

Citation (2)

Traditional Mexican Music

Ceremonial Dances

Inventiveness plays a large role in indigenous ceremonial. Virtually all Amerindian dance-dramas are supported by ceremonial organizations (some specifically dance societies) descended from colonial brotherhoods, unions and guilds (gremios). They are financially based on the mayordomia, headed by mayordomos (lay officials in a semi-religious organization) who, as part of their civic responsibility, pay for and organize certain church celebrations, dedicated at least ostensibly to a Christian saint. Dance groups within the mayordomia have a quasi military structure with caporales and capitanes.

Conquest Dances

These have always depicted the ‘pacification’ of non-Christians, their repentance for godless behaviour and subsequent vows or never to revert to their sinful ways. At a symbolic level they portray the victory of good over evil, which is viewed as inevitable. Nearly all Mexican Indian dances belong to this category; there are numerous variants although certain elements recur continually. . One Conquest dance, los concheros, is exceptional for its consistency over a relatively large geographical area in the central highlands, a result of the ‘unionization’ of the conchero brotherhoods (cofradiassindicatos) which form its ceremonial base. This dance, however, is not strictly Amerindian, but rather a form of dance cultivated by the lower economic classes on the outskirts of large towns and in small rural communities. In the Aztec tradition it is nonetheless a dance for penitence.

Personal Music

‘Personal’ music here means all music performed by an individual member of an Amerindian society without official sanction. Ceremonial music performed out of its proper context is believed to be highly perilous, endangering crops, causing droughts, or provoking retribution against offenders and the community as a whole. Virtually all members of Amerindian communities perform music for purely personal motives. Texts are improvised – often amorous, though sometimes devotional – and sung in a high-pitched, strained voice; accompanying instruments are high-pitched, such as the harmonica, concertina, jarana or, rarely, one of the larger guitars. Melodic and/or harmonic formulae in this repertory are usually peculiar to each hamlet. Neither texts nor melodies are strictly metrical, and the number of notes in each phrase is determined by the number of syllables in the text. 

Citation (4)

Composer Highlight: Silvestre Revueltas

Silvestre Revueltas playing the violin

Silvestre Revueltas


Mexican composer and violinist. At the age of eight he began violin studies in Colima, and at 12 he entered the Juárez Institute, Durango. He studied further under Tello (composition) and Rocabruna (violin) in Mexico City (1913–16), at St Edward College, Austin, Texas (1916–18), and at the Chicago Musical College under Sametini (violin) and Borowski (composition, 1918–20). After a hiatus in Mexico he returned to Chicago in 1922 to complete a four-year violin course under Kochanski and Ševčik. He was again in the USA in 1926 and 1928, playing the violin in a theatre orchestra in San Antonio, Texas, and conducting an orchestra in Mobile, Alabama. Chávez recalled him to Mexico City to take the post of assistant conductor of the Mexico SO (1929–35), and during the years 1931–4 he composed six sophisticated picture-postcard pieces for that orchestra. At the same time he taught the violin and chamber music at the conservatory and conducted a conservatory graduates’ orchestra. In 1937 he toured Spain, there allying himself with the Republican cause, and on his return he continued to teach.

Read more about Silvestre Revueltas


(1): "Toluca" by "Michael Mees

(2): Location, Climate, Language, Religion, Flag, Capital (Mexico), in Europa World online. London, Routledge. University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Retrieved 11 January 2022 from

(3): Country Map (Mexico), in Europa World online. London, Routledge. University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Retrieved 11 January 2022 from

(4): Béhague, G., Stanford, E., & Chamorro, A.  Mexico, United States of. Grove Music Online. Retrieved 12 Jan. 2022, from