Awhile ago I wrote about El Barragas's band, which plays Musica Nortena. What is Musica Nortena?
Musica Nortena or Northern Music is popular in the northern states of Mexico. The states of Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon and Coahuila are the ones responsible for bringing forth this music. This music is characterized by borrowing the polka and waltz rhythm of Germany and Poland. German and Polish polka use woodwind instruments, a tuba for bass, and an accordion. Mexican polka switches some of the instruments. In Mexican polka, the accordion is still used for the lead instrument. This accordion is usually a diatonic and botton based. Diatonic basically means the accordion will play a note when the box is squeezed in and another when squeezed out. They do not use the woodwind instruments or the tuba, and very few brass instruments. Instead, they use a Bajo Sexto, which is a twelve-string Mexican guitar. This instrument is strummed through a piece of music to keep the time. As for a bass instrument, they used a double bass in the past and know use an electric bass guitar. Drums also fill in for musica nortena. Sometimes, a saxophone is used to play harmony along with the accordion. The bands are made up of a minimum four people.
A special thanks for El Barragas for the information.