Academic Master


Tejano Music Elements

Tejano music is a type of music produced from different kinds of folk and popular music. Basically, Tejano music originated from the Mexican Americans or the Mexicans who immigrated to America. Initially, Tejano music was born in taxes. That’s why it is also named as tex-mix music. The audience of this particular music became wider and wider after some famous musicians, for instance, Selena, also known as the “queen of Tejano”. Tejano music has influenced both Mexican and American countries, but its main influence is in Latin American countries.

Different styles are involved in the generation and creation of Tejano music, such as polka, pop, rock, Mexican cumbia, and corrido (Trainor). The basic instruments used were the flute, guitar, and drum. These people used to sing the old songs passing generation after generation in Mexico. As they travelled, music also travelled to America, taking its present shape. Conjunto music is a major type of Tejano music (Harnish). Conjunto, as their new music style, became famous music among the working people.

Tejano, using a keyboard, drum, and bajo sexton, has now become an eternal attraction for the audience. Some roots of old European styles are also retained in Tejano music. Recently, Tejano has been more influenced by Mexican music, and the resulting music sounds more like norteno. The accordion was the most important instrument in Tejano music, but now, it’s a basic need in Tejano music. Nowadays, Tejano has lost its place because any kind of music is dependent on good singers and promoters. After the retirement of great performers, Tejano lost its attention (Card).

Salsa is also American-based music. This is basically dance music that originated in New York City. Salsa was introduced after Tejano music. Salsa is a mixture of different music genres, including Cuban son montuno, guaracha, cha cha mambo, and many others. Latin jazz is also a part of salsa. Salsa is primarily a line of Cuban and guitar. On the other side, American music styles like jazz also influence salsa. Some elements of rock and funk are also incorporated in salsa. Starting in Colombia, the music eventually spread throughout America. Now, salsa is known globally. The term salsa has faced many controversies. According to some musicians, there is nothing new or different about salsa as it is the same Cuban music that has been played in Cuba for more than fifty years. The term salsa means sauce, but after many controversies, it was given its proper meaning (Lovenscheimer).

Most American people like lively rhythms. Felix Chappotin and Arsenio Rodríguez used to be the most popular performers of salsa music. Initially, salsa was also close to mambo. Many singers and bands who were attracted to Hollywood were singing salsa. Salsa was considered a modern music genre. Lyrics are an important element in salsa. They range from romantic to simple dance songs, and even, in some cases, the political subject is also touched on in salsa (Forman). Salsa is typically based on two or three instruments, such as son conjunto, string charanga, and percussion.  The old-style conjunto contains congas, bongos, bass, piano, a horn section, and smaller hand-held percussion instruments. Mostly, claves, guiro, or maracas are played by the singers.

The structure of salsa music is not very complicated. Most salsa compositions are comprised of the basic son montuno model. Montuno is added to increase the excitement. There are many similarities between salsa and Tejano music. Both are traditional music influenced by a number of different kinds of music, such as Tejano salsa, which is also culture-oriented music. But there are also some differences. Salsa is a kind of modern and good-mood music. In comparison, Tejano is depressed mood music. Tejano is subject-based music, and salsa is dancing music (Perrone).


Card, Stuart K. “Visualizing Retrieved Information: A Survey.” IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications 16.2 (1996): 63–67. Web.

Forman, Murray. “The Hood Comes First”: Race, Space and Place in Rap Music and Hip Hop, 1978-1996. N.p., 1997. Web.

Harnish, David. “Tejano Music in the Urbanizing Midwest: The Musical Story of Conjunto Master Jesse Ponce.” Journal of the Society for American Music 3.2 (2009): 195–219. Web.

Lovenscheimer, Jim. “West Side Story: Cultural Perspectives on an American Musical.” Journal of the American Musicological Society 65.1 (2012): 285–291. Web.

Perrone, Charles A. “Popular Musics of the Non-Western World: An Introductory Survey.” Popular Music 1991: 98–102. Web.

Trainor, Laurel. “Science & Music: The Neural Roots of Music.” Nature 2008: 598–599. Web.



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