Capital: Mexico City
Official Language: Spanish
Current Population: 128,972,439
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
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.
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 (cofradias, sindicatos) 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 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.
(2): Location, Climate, Language, Religion, Flag, Capital (Mexico), in Europa World online. London, Routledge. University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Retrieved 11 January 2022 from http://www.europaworld.com/entry/mx.is.2
(3): Country Map (Mexico), in Europa World online. London, Routledge. University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Retrieved 11 January 2022 from http://www.europaworld.com/entry/mx.MAP
(4): Béhague, G., Stanford, E., & Chamorro, A. Mexico, United States of. Grove Music Online. Retrieved 12 Jan. 2022, from https://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/grovemusic/view/10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.001.0001/omo-9781561592630-e-0000018539.