A Humanistic Reading of Gaspar Sanz “Instruccion de música sobre la guitarra Española”



On December 7,1546, the first published piece of music for the guitar, a fantasia composed  by  Spaniard  Alonso  Mudarra  (ca.  1510-1580),  was  taken  to  the  press  in Seville.1 With Mudarra’s work, instrumental music took a step toward bridging the divide between  the  sacred  and  the  profane.  Latin  Mass  excerpts  by  Franco-Flemish  master Josquin des Prez and other sacred works by great polyphonists were arranged and printed, among  various  popular  genres,  in  tablature  for  organ,  harp,  vihuela,  and  most importantly, the  guitar.  One  must  note  that  many  consider  the  guitar  to  have  been  an instrument of the  common  classes.  Even the  vihuela was suspect for clerics overseeing the  involvement  of  instrumentalists  in  the  Catholic  Church.  An  instrument  for  which many secular songs were composed, the vihuela was too closely identified with “dancing and other unholy activities.”

This thesis is based on the aesthetics of guitar music during the 128 years between Tres  libros  de  mvsica  en  cifras  para  vihvela (1546)  of  Mudarra  and  Instrvccion  de Mvsica  sobre  la  Gvitarra  Espanola (1674)  of  Sanz,  a  historical  period  whose commonalities with the state of guitar culture today promise a new and informative experience for any  reader, not just music  specialists. My  studies in  music and  language arts  have led  me to the  present topic, one  that I  consider to be  of prime  importance  in fully  understanding  one  of  the  most  powerful  empires  of  early-modern  Europe.  I approach  the  relationship  between  early  guitar  traditions  and  humanism  in  Spain  as  a modem  music  historian  who  has  experienced  the  impact  of  this  musico-literary confluence first hand.

Lars Christian Rosager      https://www.academia.edu/

A Humanistic Reading of Gaspar Sanz “Instruccion de música sobre la guitarra Española” Vol. 1

A Humanistic Reading of Gaspar Sanz “Instruccion de música sobre la guitarra Española” Vol. 2

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