Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Music (MM)



First Advisor

Dr. Susan Hurley-Glowa

Second Advisor

Dr. Michael Quantz

Third Advisor

Dr. Andres Amado


The guitar in border towns has links to many musical cultures that vary in their ways of being due to the customs of the specific space. Individual guitarists learn how to navigate the different environments because they understand the etiquettes needed to belong and participate in the musical circles.

In this autoethnographic work, I explore the various musical spaces that I have participated in through my musical journey growing up in Brownsville, Texas, to understand further how the individual musician embodies the style of music s/he performs. As a primary data source for my work, I use the experiences that I have had in the high school band, garage metal band, academic settings, and carnezasos. By framing the overall analysis through the lens of code-switching, the study documents and highlights the differences between musicking in formal and informal settings. My scholarship contributes to the considerable music ethnographic discourse surrounding the importance of individuals' perceived identity and how local music cultures reshape the use and meaning of instruments to fit new contexts.


Copyright 2021 Hector M. Aguilar. All Rights Reserved.

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