In the book Parang Cancionero, the author explains:

“Modern Parang comprises music and song derived mainly from traditional Venezuelan folk music, and contemporary popular Latin American music. The former is often described as “authentic” or “heritage” parang rooted in the musical expressions of Eastern Venezuela. In this work the lyrics of contemporary Latin American song are not included nor discussed.”

The aguinaldo is but one kind of authentic or heritage parang song presented and discussed in the book.

It has been noted elsewhere that the Spaniards introduced the copla into the Americas in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The copla is a semi-literary composition with a well defined structure that is still observed today. The form is a four-line stanza (quatrain), each line consisting of either six or eight syllables, normally with rhyme in the first and third or second and fourth line. The copla influenced compositions such as the villancico and villancico de aguinaldo which have been linked with Christmas over the centuries.

Here are examples of six-syllable lines, and quatrains with six-syllable lines. The examples range from a villancico by Juan del Encina (1468-1529), to traditional and popular aguinaldos of Venezuela and Trinidad. Synalepha and other characteristics of Spanish versification will be discussed in a subsequent blog.

1: Juan del Encina, Spain

Más Vale Trocar
Más/ va/le/ tro/car          (5+1) 6
Pla/cer/ por/ do/lo/res      6
Que_es/tar/ sin/ a/mo/res    6

2: Traditional Children’s Song

Los Pollitos Dicen
Los/po/lli/tos/di/cen       6    La/ga/lli/na/bus/ca    6
Pí/o/pí/o/pí/o              6    El/ma/iz /y_el/tri/go  (5+1)6
Cuan/do/tie/nen/ham/bre     6    Les/da/la/co/mi/da     6
Cuan/do/tie/nen/frí/o       6    Y/les/pres/ta_a/bri/go 6

3: Traditional Aguinaldo from Puerto Rico

Los/tres/Re/yes/Ma/gos     6
I/ban/de/ca/mi/no          6
De/re/cho_a/Be/lén         (5+1) 6
A_a/do/rar/al/Ni/ño        6

4: Traditional Aguinaldo from Paria Peninsular, Venezuela

Can/te/mos/al/Ni/ño         6
Can/te/mos/a/mor            (5+1) 6
Si/ga/mos/la_es/tre/lla     6
Ca/mi/no_al/Se/ñor          (5+1) 6

5: Traditional Aguinaldo from Trinidad, sung by Papa Goon (1970)

E/ra/ re/lu/cien/te             6
Y_her/mo/sa/ la_es/tre/lla      6
Los/ Re/yes/ de O/rien/te       6
Guián/do/se/ por/ e/lla         6

6: Popular aguinaldo from Trinidad (composed in 1990’s?) by Loderick Espinosa b.1925.

Muy/em/ba/ra/za/da      6
La/Vir/gen/Ma/rí/a      6
So/bre/su/po/lli/na     6
A/Be/lén/ca/bal/ga      6

Parang Cancionero, by Sylvia Moodie-Kublalsingh is a handbook for parang enthusiasts. In it the author discusses and presents the lyrics of folk, popular and modern parang songs, with the English version of each song. In her book you can read about the relationship between the villancico and the aguinaldo, the meaning of the two words and how the aguinaldo has evolved in Trinidad parang.

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