Tambor y Mejorana

Roque Cordero's Rapsodia Panameña





Roque Cordero, Latin American Composers, Violin, Dodecaphony, Panamanian Music


Panamanian composer Roque Cordero (1917-2008) is known for his use of twelve-tone technique but also for the incorporation of Panamanian music into his compositions. However, his methods for doing so have largely remained unstudied. This article examines the methodic juxtaposition of dodecaphonic technique and Panamanian elements in Cordero’s Rapsodia Panameña (1988) for unaccompanied violin. An analysis of the work, informed by a survey of Panamanian traditions and previous works for violin by Cordero, reveals how the composer weaves together a twelve-tone row and diatonic material built from deconstructed traditional elements through a series of strategies guided by a unified pitch center. The article further discusses Cordero’s “musical Panama” and how his youthful experiences with popular music and the study of Narciso Garay’s transcriptions contributed to his methods.


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Author Biography

Samuel Robles, Center for Historical, Anthropological and Cultural Research AIP, Panamá

He is a Panamanian musicologist and composer, staff researcher at the Center for Historical, Anthropological and Cultural Research AIP and research associate at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. He has conducted research on allegory in the music and visual art of the Middle Ages, 13th-century polytextual motets, and the ballets of Igor Stravinsky. He is currently working on Panamanian music for violin, the Azuero Violin School and the music of Roque Cordero and Narciso Garay. He has taught music history and theory at Florida State University-Panama and at the University of Panama, where he was also conductor of the University Symphony. He is a graduate of North-West University (DMus), University of Chicago (MA), University of Cincinnati (MMus) and Universidad Santa María La Antigua.


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How to Cite

Robles, Samuel. 2022. “Tambor Y Mejorana: Roque Cordero’s Rapsodia Panameña”. Per Musi, no. 42 (August). https://doi.org/10.35699/2317-6377.2022.40211.