Santiago de Murcia (1673-1739):new contributions on his life and work

SANTIAGO de Murcia is undoubtedly one of the most important figures in the field of Baroque guitar music, in the sense that his work is well known and appreciated by contemporary musicologists and guitarists. The significant studies and editions by Monica Hall, Neil Pennington, Craig Russell and Robert Stevenson,1 and the important number of recordings devoted exclusively to his music, by Rolf Lislevand, Paul O’Dette and others,2 prove this assertion.
Nevertheless, till now he has been unknown as a subject of history, a sort of phantom, in a manner of speaking, since no information about his life was known aside from his own claim of being guitar teacher to Queen Marie Louise of Savoy (Philip V’s first wife) on the cover of his Resumen de acompañar la parte con la guitarra.3 Hence the adjectives such as ‘enigmatic’ or ‘intriguing’ frequently used with reference to his biography, which is summarized here in a brief survey.4
The earliest known source of his music is the Resumen de acompañar, printed in 1714, very possibly in Antwerp. This book includes a treatise on guitar accompaniment, which is perhaps the most important for that instrument together with Nicola Matteis’s The False Consonances… (1682).5 Murcia explains here, with great detail and clarity, how to accompany a figured bass both in natural and high clefs, as well as the precise execution of the suspensions, including a selection of music examples in different metres and modes.6 The second section of the book is an anthology of pieces in guitar tablature, mostly French dances such as ‘La Mariée’ and ‘La Bretaigne’, some of which were apparently taken from the anthologies published by Raoul Auger Feuillet in Paris from 1700.7 The Resumen de acompañar is the first Spanish source for …


Alejandro Vera is a professor and researcher at the Instituto de Música of the Pontificia
Universidad Católica de Chile and also teaches as visiting professor in the doctoral
programme of the Universidad Autónoma in Madrid

Escrito por Alejandro Vera

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santiago de murcia-new contributions on his life

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