Mariachi music originated in Jalisco, Mexico. It is said it began in the town of Cocula. It is a version of theatrical orchestra, it includes violins, harp and guitars which developed in and around Jalisco. It began in the 19th century, and is still popular today.
The Violin is apart of a Mariachi ensemble, it is a string instrument. It is 4 stringed and the smallest, highest-pitched member of the string family. The purpose of the violin in mariachi music is to complement trumpet melodies. The most important element of this style of playing to use the entire bow.
The Vihuela also plays a major role in a Mariachi ensemble. The Vihuela is an instrument that is basically two different guitars ring instruments. The one played in the Mariachi band is from the 19th century. It has 5 strings and originated from Mexico. There is another one from the 15th and 16th century, that one originated in Spain. That specific Vihuela typically had 12 strings. The Guitarron is a very large, deep bodied Mexican 6- string acoustic bass. It is similar to the guitar developed from the 16th century. The Guitarron is typically played by doubling notes by octave. The Guitarron is used to keep the beat and other instruments together.
The trumpet is apart of the brass family, it has the highest register out of all the other instruments. It is played by blowing air threw closed lips. The trumpet replaced the cornet in the mariachi band, now there is usually two trumpets in a mariachi band. The trumpet combination in mariachi was popularized in the 1950s.
There are many characteristics to mariachi bands. The forms found in mariachi music are, the most important element of the style. Mariachi song forms (such as the bolero, canción ranchera, son, huapango, joropo, and danzón) are always the rhythmic patterns that are performed by the guitar section of the group. There is also singing involved in mariachi music. For example, the “grito mexicano”, a yell that is done at musical interludes during a song, either by the musicians and the listening audience. Like of that would be the mariachi players singing “AY YA YAY YA!”