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Spanish songs for Christmas Eve from the early 16th century

AutorKnighton, Tess
Palabras claveJuan de Valera
Pedro de Escobar
Ourense Cathedral
Seville Cathedral
Christmas song
Spanish Renaissance polyphony
Fecha de publicación2015
EditorOxford University Press
CitaciónEarly Music 43 : 455- 469 (2015)
ResumenA tradition for singing songs in the vernacular on Christmas Eve, whether as an integral part of the Officium pastorem or paraliturgical celebrations related to it, in Spanish churches, chapels and convents dates from at least the end of the 14th century, and possibly even earlier. Certainly, by the first decades of the 15th century such songs began to be written down, although it seems likely that these notated versions would not have been used in performances where the actormusicians were often dressed or masked as shepherds or other persons present at the Nativity scene. Rather, it seems that the notating of the songs served at least two other purposes: as a record of an ecclesiastical institution's ceremonial practice and/or for the rehearsal and memorization of the songs to be performed on Christmas Eve. The recent discovery of four (incomplete) Christmas villancicos in two 16th-century leaves that originally formed part of a substantial volume of sacred songs in the vernacular is of particular interest as witness to the increased institutionalization of this repertory. The songs themselves also reflect the final stages in the transition from a semi-improvised tradition to a more formal act of creation that would, in the course of the 16th century, become one of the most regular and important duties of the chapel masters of Spanish cathedrals.
Versión del editorhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1093/em/cav045
Identificadoresdoi: 10.1093/em/cav045
issn: 0306-1078
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