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A Brief History on the Mariachi Tradition


Analyzing Mariachi Traditional and Popular Song Forms

The Ranchera

  • The popular ranchera are songs from the heart, singing about love for someone, lost love, patriotic love (both national and local), nature and environment, etc.
  • The traditional ranchera can be 3/4, 2/4 or 4/4.  Contemporary rancheras include compositions with a mixture of a single ranchera rhythm and a son jaliscience or huapango rhythms.  (These can be referred to as “canciones”.)
  • The ranchera is a simple song form with instrumental introduction, verse and/or refrain, return to the instrumental interlude, verse and/or refrain and tag ending. Majority in major keys.
  • Each ranchera meter has a specific tradtional tag phrase ending and tag song form ending.

1.  The 3/4 ranchera:   The “Remate” (tag phrase ending)

2.  The 3/4 tag ending:

3. The 3/4 ranchera tag ending (minor key):

4. The 2/4 ranchera:  The “Remate #1”

5. The 2/4 ranchera:  The “Remate #2”

  • Many times, Remate #2 is immediately followed by Remate #1.

    6. The 2/4 ranchera tag ending:

7. The 4/4 ranchera: one of many Remates

8. The 4/4 ranchera ending #1:

9. The 4/4 ranchera ending #2:


Back to Song Forms


The Son Jaliscience The Jarabe The Ranchera
The Serenata The Vals The Bolero
The Corrido The Polka The Chotis
The Clasica The Huapango The Cumbia


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