The Conflicting Borders Between Popular and Classical Music and Eddie Palmieri's Compositions Between 1960-1979


Noel Allende-Goitia

Document Id: OC-35

As a composer, I have often found myself struggling with musical ideas, or compositional problems, for a long time and to find the elusive solution listening to a "non-classical" composition. The opposite struck me as I was listening to a couple of Eddie Palmieri's compositions, like Adoración (composed in 1973), and I wondered why the avant garde musical movement in Puerto Rico, during the late 60's and 70's, never acknowledged this fine piece of Salsa and Latin Jazz, or incorporated its innovations. During the time I started researching turn-of-the-century Puerto Rican music social history, these situations emerged in my inquiry as questions. Why, if musical practices coexist in the same social context, do innovations in particular genres seem not to affect one another? In the case of Puerto Rico in particular, and the Caribbean in general, I learned that different genres and musical traditions were performed by the same nucleus of musicians (including composers), though, popular and classical compositions seemed impermeable to each other.2 The impermeability of these two genres is expressed in the convention of regarding both as being "together" or equal as cultural activities and in their social functionality, but thinking that for some intrinsic value they are meant to be segregated, or not scrambled. That impermeability is what I would like to explore in this paper.

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