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date: 15 November 2019


  • John Koegel


A sacred and secular traditional song type in Puerto Rico and other areas of the Circum-Caribbean region (Trinidad, Venezuela), as well as in Mexico, Chile, Spain, and the Puerto Rican community in the United States. In Puerto Rico it is particularly associated with Christmas and is related to the non-polyphonic villancico. References to the aguinaldo date from the 17th century onwards, and the word has several meanings: a form of traditional jíbaro (rural Puerto Rican) music; a devotional song and musical genre performed at Christmas time to a repeated melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic pattern; a song sung in a secular context; a poetic form in hexasyllabic verse arranged in décimas (ten-line stanzas); and a gift given at Christmas or Epiphany. Aguinaldos are sung at the Misa de aguinaldo (Aguinaldo Mass), celebrated early in the morning each day for the nine days before Christmas. It is played and sung in church services by ...

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