Advances in Historical Studies

Volume 3, Issue 5 (December 2014)

ISSN Print: 2327-0438   ISSN Online: 2327-0446

Google-based Impact Factor: 0.16  Citations  


Music, Eurocentrism and Identity: The Myth of the Discovery of America in Chilean Music History

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DOI: 10.4236/ahs.2014.35024    5,453 Downloads   6,153 Views   Citations


During the past century, Edmundo O’Gorman, Tzvetan Todorov, Enrique Dussel and other scholars pointed out the Eurocentric perspective implied in traditional narratives about the discovery of America, most of which intended to confirm Europe as the center of world history and culture. At the same time, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Hayden White and others argued for the mythical character of history. According to them, even though historians attempted to assemble documentary evidence objectively, they constructed their narratives incorporating such evidence in preexisting stories, characters and categories with a mythical origin. This paper uses these viewpoints to analyze and criticize the way in which Chilean music history has been constructed, particularly during the republican era. The main hypothesis is that traditional discourses about that history have constantly recycled narratives on the discovery of America, which thus operates as a kind of founding myth for historical and musicological interpretations, especially when dealing with turning points such as the change of dynasty (1700), the beginning of independence (c. 1810) and the centenary of the republic (1910). A corollary would be that documentary evidence about music has been frequently hidden or distorted precisely in order to fit such a myth. That is why the present paper examines both bibliography and original documents found in different archives.

Cite this paper

Vera, A. (2014) Music, Eurocentrism and Identity: The Myth of the Discovery of America in Chilean Music History. Advances in Historical Studies, 3, 298-312. doi: 10.4236/ahs.2014.35024.

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