Ronald Charles Purcell
The Spanish vihuela de mano of the Renaissance represents an early form of the Spanish guitar. Between the years 1536 and 1576, seven known tutor books were published specifically for this instrument, which reveal many aspects of Spanish vocal and instrumental music of this period. Five of these books have already been treated in full by noted authorities in this area of musicology. The object of this thesis is to treat the last of the vihuela books to appear (1576), entitled Libro de musica en cifas para vihuela, intitulado, el Parnasso by Esteban Daza. The preliminary folios of el Parnasso are translated and discussed with regard to the author, dedicatee, copyright and vlhuela instructions. The three books of music which follow, containing fantasias, motets and songs, are treated separately with emphasis on style, modes, tunings, transcriptions (volume two of this thesis) and concordances.
The final chapter, “The Significance of el Parnasso,” bring out important aspects of the Renaissance style found in the performance practices of Spanish instrumental music; for instance. the vocal compositions (i.e., motets) influenced the style of instrumental fantasias found in el Parnasso. but that even in the last of the vihuela books, the modal and tonal centers were dictated by the open string tunings and not by the church modes as seen by the practice of transposing; and that Daza avoided certain proportions may reflect a new approach pedagogically to the introduction of meter. In all, the last of the vihuela books represents a final attempt to continue an instrumental style whose popularity was waning and being superceded by the Baroque guitar.
Esteban Daza, “El Parnasso”