Student Research Projects

The Dance Rhythms of the Argentinean Chacarera

Student Ajee Church '16 (Music)
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department Music
Course APMU 111: Wesleyan Singers


How does classical music help one learn about Argentinean culture and assimilate that culture into performance? In order to make that connectio0,n it was necessary to study the culture, the musical score, the Spanish language, and different dialects specific to Argentinean culture. Upon going to the American Choral Director’s Association (ACDA) conference, conductor Cristian Grases was able to help the singers delve further into the world of the Argentinean culture by telling them about the specifics of the country and how this piece fits into the culture. “Gala Del Dia” is an Argentinean Chacarera (a folk dance similar to the Tango that stems from the Baroque Era). This music comes with two different time signatures that require completely different rhythmic treatments during performances: first, the 6/8 time signature where the two big beats are accented (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) and second the 3/4 time signature where the first and third beats are accented (1, 2, 3). This changes the feel of the dance during the performance, similar to having two dances occurring almost simultaneously. While the time signature (6/8) does not change, the Chacarera style mixes the two rhythms to create the feeling that the time signature changes. The different rhythmic accents inform the performer to have more freedom of movement and expression in performance, while paying special attention to rhythmic accents. Studying all of these elements of a piece allows performers and listeners alike to gain knowledge and insight into the Argentinean culture and use the music as a link to bridge cultures. Music can unify different cultures by being used as a universal language to connect different individuals and countries.


Virginia Wesleyan Research Conference Grant, 2015


American Choral Directors Association's 2015 National Conference in Salt Lake City in February 2015