Women and the guitar in Spain’s upper classes

Pinnell, R. (1998). Women and the guitar in Spain’s upper classes. Anuario Musical, (53), 165–189.

The 13th-century Libro de Apolonio featured women and an aristocratic guitar called the vihuela. This instrument’s prestige continued into the 16th century in the hands of empresses, queens, princesses, and ladies of the Spanish upper classes. Their inclination to perform on the fretted instruments enhanced the impact of humanistic and educational values emanating from the ltalian Renaissance into Spain’s Mediterranean ports. On the return ships, starting around 1550, Spanish women launched the baroque guitar’s expatriation at Naples, which gathered forces for a northward invasion through the city-states and into the rest of Europe as the guitarra española. Reinforcements carne from Spanish and Italian popular culture, as it advanced north to Scandinavia and west to the Americas. Following in the footsteps of the Habsburg infantas who became the wives of Louis XIII and Louis XIV of France, the guitar movement reached its apotheosis under Bourbon rule, which after 1700 circled back into Spain. From 1660 to 1800 the princesses and queens of the Habsburg, Savoyard, Stuart, and Bourbon dynasties, continually elevated the instrument’s pres tige, adding to its popularity and opening the way for its influence in secular art music

Women and the guitar in Spain’s upper classes

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