Corridos and the Mexican Revolution

The corrido in its usual form is a ballad of eight-syllable, four-line stanzas sung to a simple tune in fast waltz time, often in polka rhythm.

In its literary form the corrido seems to be a direct descendent of the romance, the Spanish ballad form which developed in the Middle Ages, became a traditional form, and was brought to the New World by Spanish conquistadors. The corrido, like the romance, relates a story or event of local or national interest-a hero's deeds, a bandit's exploits, a barroom shootout, or a natural disaster, for instance.

Besides its music, versification, and subject matter, the corrido also employs certain formal ballad conventions. In La lírica narrativa de México, Vicente Mendoza gives six primary formal characteristics or conventions of the corrido. They are: (1) the initial call of the corridista, or balladeer, to the public, sometimes called the formal opening; (2) the stating of the place, time, and name of the protagonist of the ballad; (3) the arguments of the protagonist; (4) the message; (5) the farewell of the protagonist; and (6) the farewell of the corridista. These elements, however, vary in importance from region to region in Mexico and the Southwest, and it is sometimes difficult to find a ballad that employs all of them. In Texas and the border region, the formal opening of the corrido is not as vital as the balladeer's despedida (farewell) or formal close. Often the singer will start the corrido with the action of the story to get the interest of the audience, thus skipping the introduction, but the despedida in one form or another is almost never dropped. The phrase Ya con esta me despido ("With this I take my leave") or Vuela, vuela, palomita ("Fly, fly, little dove") often signals the despedida on the first line of the penultimate or final stanza of the song.





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