Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Great Plains Quarterly Vol. 29, No. 3, Summer 2009, pp. 257-258


Copyright 2009 by the Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska- Lincoln


Texas encompasses a uniquely wide-ranging and diverse blend of ethnic and regional cultures that have in turn fostered an amazingly rich and creative musical environment. It has arguably contributed more, in both quality and variety, to the overall development of American music than any other single state. While much has been written about specific aspects of Texas music, this book is one of the first to attempt a comprehensive treatment of the subject.

Hartman's first major theme concerns "tejana" musical traditions, the blending of Spanish/Mexican with Anglo-American music in the Southwest borderlands. Mariachi, canciones, and corridos were the foundations for conjunto, and later nortefia and chicana variations that culminated in the Tejano music popularized by the tragically short career of Selena Quintinilla in the 1980s.

The centrality of African American contributions to American music is widely known, as spiritual, gospel, and "call and response" traditions gradually developed into blues, jazz, boogie-woogie, and eventually rock and roll and rap and hip-hop. Texans Huddie Ledbetter (Leadbelly), Blind Lemon Jefferson, Lightnin' Hopkins, T-Bone Walker, and Big Mama Thornton played an important role in the birth of the blues, while Lone Star native Scott Joplin was the pivotal figure in ragtime.