Music in Cuba

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Music in Cuban History

From the time before the Spanish conquest till the present, music has played a significant role in Cuban history. For instance, during colonization, Cuban songs and traditions encouraged a rebellious attitude. The chant in the lands was brought about by the spiritual force of music, which also gave the colonial people more resources and fortification against the powers of conquest (Lorenzino 198). After Sebastián de Ocampo showed them a picture of Saint Mary in 1509, the Indians developed songs and dances in her honor. This story illustrates the rich and distinctive history of music in Cuba (Carpentier and West-Duran 172). The passion for music has prevailed in the country despite the challenges of domination by the foreigners, an extended period of struggles to gain independence, and racism.

The Implementation of Music Education

After the attainment of independence, the process to implement music education in public schools went hand-in-hand with the efforts for compulsory schooling. After Fidel Castro led a revolution in 1959, Cuba gained independence and started the establishment of a system of education built on the legacy left by the Spanish and the Americans. The music education was at the core of the curriculum (Cox and Stevens 153).

The Unique Cuban Education System

Accordingly, after Cuba assumed control over the public education, it has developed a unique and efficient system of education. Consequently, Cuba has one of the most successful national education programs in Latin America which give it a greater sense of pride. Moreover, the country's ability to offer free, child-centered, and high-quality music education is the most notable aspect of its school system that differentiates it from the rest of education programs in the Latin America. All students from pre-school to Grade 7 access free learning while those aged 8-18 years can also obtain professional music training offered countrywide through the specialized stream of music (Cox and Stevens 153).


In conclusion, music is an essential part of the Cuban school curriculum. It originated from various forces such as ethnicity and colonial powers. Thus, the harmonies composed reflect strong Spanish and American melodic characteristics. Nevertheless, Cubans still maintain their traditional Latin music in spite of the struggle with racism, extensive fighting with colonists and interference foreign powers.

Works Cited

Carpentier, Alejo, and Alan West-Duran. "Music in Cuba." Transition, vol. 9, no, 1, 2000, pp. 172-228.

Cox, Gordon, and Robin S. Stevens. The origins and foundations of music education: cross-cultural historical studies of music in compulsory schooling. Continuum, 2010.

Lorenzino, Lisa. "Music education in Cuban schools." Research Studies in Music Education, vol. 33, no. 3, 2011, pp. 197 -210.

April 13, 2023

World Music History



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Cuba Song

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