Alberto Ginastera: An examination of objective nationalism and the “Danzas Argentinas”

Miah Lee, University of Texas at El Paso


Alberto Ginastera (1916–1983) is a national composer who represents the music of Argentina during the twentieth century. He gained world-wide fame as a successful composer who combined Argentine folklore and modern techniques of avant garde. Even though his family did not have a musical back ground, he was a gifted musician even from early childhood. After taking piano lessons when he was seven, he attended music school where he was always improving and pushing himself toward successful composition and pedagogy in music. Many composers wrote music using national or regional character in the later 19th and early 20th centuries. When Ginastera began composition around 1930, nationalism was prevalent in South America. Thus, his piano compositional style in the 1930s and 1940s showed that he was inspired by and based on Argentine folklore. Later, he turned to use atonal and serial techniques in the 1960s. This paper will first discuss his biographical background in relation to his musical path. The second and third chapters describe how his musical composition style developed by periods which scholars have divided into different periods. In the scholarship about Ginastera's music, scholars have argued about the division of periods in his music. No matter how many times it is divided, Danzas Argentinas, which is mainly focused and analyzed, is included in his first period. This piece shows his beginning compositional style representing the gaucho tradition which was related in Argentina nationalism. Finally, Danzas Argentinas will be analyzed from a nationalistic point of view. This thesis is the companion thesis to the required Master of Music piano recital completed on March 13, 2004, in which Danzas Argentinas closed the program.

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Recommended Citation

Lee, Miah, "Alberto Ginastera: An examination of objective nationalism and the “Danzas Argentinas”" (2005). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1425914.