Charanga [charanga francesa]
- Robin Moore
A musical ensemble type that gained popularity in Cuba in the early twentieth century. The term charanga appears to have had negative associations in the nineteenth-century and was often used to reference any small, ad hoc musical ensemble, but has since lost its negative meanings. Twentieth-century charanga bands most often played danzón repertoire for dancers; unlike earlier nineteenth-century ensembles, however, their instrumentation consisted not of a wide variety of wind instruments but instead of a small group foregrounding flute and violins as their primary melodic instruments. The most common instrumentation of this charanga ensemble consisted of piano, acoustic bass, a transverse wooden flute similar to the flute used in Baroque classical repertoire, two or more violins, timbales, and güiro (a gourd scraper). Well known charanga bands of the early twentieth century included the orchestras of José María Romeu and Antonio Arcaño.
Beginning in the 1930s, charanga bands began to incorporate influences from the Cuban ...