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Traditional Mexican street ensemble. The performer, the musical style, and the musical ensemble are called mariachi. Mariachi music emerged in the late 1700s or early 1800s. In the 19th century, mariachi bands consisted solely of stringed instruments, including the guitar, the guitarrón (a large fretless six-string bass guitar), and the vihuela (a guitarlike stringed instrument); since the1920s the ensembles have generally included violins and trumpetsnow more or less essential elementsand often other wind instruments as well. Initially mariachi music was strictly instrumental, but it has come to include vocal elements.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on mariachi, visit Britannica.com.