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The Panamanian Decima


[A young girl sings a decima at a contest.]

A young girl sings a decima at a contest.


By:

Marino Jaén Sánchez
2010-05-19

The Panamanian decima is a ten verse stanza, related to the Spanish decima espinela, created by poet Vicente Espinel during the 16th Century. Because of its Spanish origin, our decima shares many common traits with similar poetry forms from all over the Spanish-speaking world.

The ten verses of each stanza must have eight syllables in order for the poem to qualify as a proper decima. Also, the rhyme must have the following scheme: ABBAACCDDC.

Panamanian decimas are written for reading and for singing. When they are sung, they are called mejoranas. Their singing is made to the tune of one of several traditional guitars such as the 5-string mejoranera or the 4-string bocona.


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