It is said that the seis is “the backbone of Puerto Rican folk music.” Its origins are nebulous, but as a dance form it is related to genres dating back to Medieval Al-Andalúz (present day Andalucía in Spain). It is primarily a dance genre and its various forms are usually described by the steps they utilize (“chorreao,” “zapateado,” etc.), by the region of Puerto Rico from which they originate (“Bayamonés”), or by the musicians who popularized a particular riff or melody (“Andino”). The seis tradition also involves the singing or chanting of troubadors, who extemporize, often competitively, over the slower, minor-key versions of the “seis con décimas.”
Seis Enchaconado is a short chaconne in C major utilizing a variety of seis styles. The first variations focus on the “seis Andino,” named after, it’s thought, the musician who popularized its melody. An accelerando leads to variations focusing on the “seis chorreao” and the “seis zapateao”, the fastest versions of the seis, reserved for the last dance at harvest dances. There follows a barriolage variation on the “seis Andino,” after which the music slows down and modulates to a minor for a long variation on the “seis con décimas,” in which the violin alludes to the chanting of jíbaro troubadors. The piece ends with a brief, vertiginous fast variation.
Seis Enchaconado was commissioned as an audition/competition piece by master violin teacher, Elizabeth Faidley, for her New York studio. It was written in October, 2021.