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The Anatomy of a Mariachi Band

trumpet mariachi band with mariachi band instruments

Cinco de Mayo: a time for good food, conversation, dancing, and most importantly -- music!

Music in the Hispanic community is varied and expansive, with new voices entering every genre. Still, when many think of a traditional Cinco de Mayo celebration, images of cowboy boots, oversized hats, and embellished vests come to mind.

The Mariachi Band is so much more than its costumes! With violins, trumpets, and a variety of guitars in the mix, Mariachi members are talented and studied musicians.

Today, we’re exploring the anatomy of a traditional Mariachi Band. What instruments are included?

The Guitar

While many Mariachi bands will include a variety of guitars (guitarron, vihuela, and bass guitar) nearly all include a regular guitar! This is a traditional acoustic or classical guitar style, and it is critical to creating the recognizable Mariachi sound.

The regular guitar helps the entire band keep the rhythm and set time, in this way it serves as the foundation for the music. ArtistWorks offers instruction in both Classical Guitar and Flatpick Guitar, so you can pick up this key instrument in no time.

The Violin

Violin may traditionally conjure images of an orchestra or bluegrass band, but through the Mariachi -- this classical instrument transforms! Violin keeps the melody for the band and is consequently considered the “lead” instrument. If you’re planning on putting together a Mariachi Band of your own: the Violin is a must!

Don’t feel the need to stop at only one, as Mariachi Bands can have up to 8 violinists in their company. The more the melody! That’s have the saying goes, right?

ArtistWorks offers both Violin and Fiddle instruction.

The Trumpet

Though the Trumpet may feel like an inherent member of a Mariachi ensemble, in the long history of this style of music -- the trumpet is a very new addition! It found its way into Mariachi Bands in the 1930’s, with the rise in popularity of Jazz Music.

The Trumpet may not be essential to a simple Mariachi ensemble, but adding one in can add a lot to the group's sound! Trumpets are known to bring drama and dynamics to Mariachi playing.

ArtistWorks offers Trumpet lessons online with Master instructor, David Bilger.

Break out the chips and guac, and make sure to have your guitar, violin, and trumpet in tow. Let’s make this year’s Cinco de Mayo celebration one for the books!

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