Date of Award

Fall 12-8-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Music


School of Music

First Advisor

Dr. Stephen Lias

Second Advisor

Dr. Todd Fish

Third Advisor

Dr. Juan Ureña

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Benjamin Morris



This study examines the role of Santería music as practiced by African Dominicans in Villa Mella, a neighborhood of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. This musical tradition comes from the culture and religion of the Yoruba people who were brought as slaves from Africa, and features complex drum rhythms and call-and-response chants. This paper deals with the historical and social context of Santería music within the Dominican Republic, but its principal objective is to adopt the musical language of this tradition and use it to create a new contemporary work for mixed choir and small ensemble.

One of the most influential musical groups for this thesis was La Cofradía de los Congos del Espíritu Santo de Villa Mella, because it follows the original practices and rituals, and it has a large presence on Youtube. The use of this musical tradition, along with contemporary composition techniques and Christian religious texts about the Holy Spirit, resulted in a composition that choral groups in the Dominican Republic can perform during the high feast of Pentecost in the church calendar.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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