Eighteenth-century Mexico City was marked by tension and negotiation as cathedral musicians adapted to social, economic, and aesthetic transformations in order to negotiate their positions in society. “Playing in the cathedral” refers to the multiple ways in which musicians integrated performance, and the possibility of upward social mobility, into their social and political identities. The book's author, ethnomusicologist Jesús A. Ramos-Kittrell, conducted extensive research in the Archivo del Cabildo of the cathedral of Mexico for over a decade. His conclusions rely on data from official cathedral chapter meetings, payment records, and decrees as well as correspondence between cathedral personnel.

Ramos-Kittrell reconstructs racial and Spanish identity by looking at contemporary understandings of calidad, nobleza, and decency. Music—both academic knowledge and performance of—was key for upward mobility, as was institutional affiliation with the cathedral. Cathedral musicians such as well-known composers and chapelmasters...

Article PDF first page preview

Article PDF first page preview
You do not currently have access to this content.