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The Invention of the National in Venezuelan Art Music, 1920-1960.

Aponte, Pedro Rafael (2009) The Invention of the National in Venezuelan Art Music, 1920-1960. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation explores the developments of art music in Venezuela during the first half of the twentieth century as an exercise in nation building. It argues that beginning in the early 1920s a nationalist movement in music emerged, which was not only determined by but also determinant in the construction of a concept of nationhood. The movement took place at a crucial time when the country had entered a process of economic transformation. The shift in Venezuela's economic system from agrarian to industrial in the 1910s triggered a reconfiguration of the country's social and cultural structures. Industrialization brought about a new type of culture in which individual loyalties to the nation became more apparent than ever before. The institutionalization of national culture took place not only within the government, through state policies of national integration, but also less formally within social organizations. At both levels, however, the process of institutionalizing national culture involved a great deal of cultural engineering and invention. In art music, these dynamics took the form of a nationalist movement initiated by a group of native musicians in the city of Caracas around 1920. These musicians sought to modernize musical life in the country, which they saw as being old-fashioned in comparison to contemporary European music. In addition to creating a modern music infrastructure they sought to establish a national art-music culture. To that end, they set out to articulate a national ideology of music and to act on several nationalistic objectives: revising the narrative of the country's music history, disseminating historical and ethnomusicological research, creating national policies on music and music education, and composing a nationalist musical repertoire. By looking at those musical developments against the backdrop of social change, this dissertation seeks to illuminate the constructionist nature of musical nationalism in mid-twentieth-century Venezuela. In this light, the renovation movement is to be seen as a nation-building project made possible by constructing and solidifying new modes of cultural communication and new identifying marks of national culture.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Aponte, Pedro Rafaelprast7@pitt.eduPRAST7
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairRoot, Deanedlr@pitt.eduDLR
Committee MemberFranklin, Don
Committee MemberLund, Joshua
Committee MemberLewis, Mary
Date: 26 January 2009
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 27 October 2008
Approval Date: 26 January 2009
Submission Date: 10 December 2008
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Music
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Juan Bautista Plaza; Musical Nationalism; Invention of Tradition; Modernization; Vicente Emilio Sojo; Jose Antonio Calcano; Orquesta Sinfonica Venezuela; Orfeon Lamas
Other ID:, etd-12102008-155453
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:10
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:54


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