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Spanish Music History

Every society has an indigenous music tradition of its own. So does the Spanish society. History of music in Spain is as old as the history of the country itself. Spanish music and dance history is an interesting topic of study. Codex Las Huelgas was a medieval Spanish manuscript.

In Spanish history, Greek music was introduced to the Spanish by the Romans. Sacred music flourished under the Visigoths. Music notation developed in Spain in the 8th century itself. When the church took over Spain in the year 1492, sacred music thrived. Under the Moors, a intermingling of Moorish, Christian and Jewish music took place.

In the Renaissance period, music gradually evolved into various styles. Instrumental music and the Polyphonic singing style emerged. Polyphonic singing gave rise to composers like Tomás Luis de Victoria and Francisco Guerrero. The Spanish guitar was born. Spain saw the give and take of music styles and ideas from other countries like France during this period.

Flamenco is an Andalusian traditional folk music. Flamenco music is attributed to Andalucía's persecuted gypsy culture. Intricate dance and harrowing vocals are its characteristics. Consisting of three forms, song (cante), the dance (baile) and the guitar (guitarra), its lyrics are mainly based on the traditional folk poetry.

This form of music and dance is a combination of the Jewish, Moorish and Andalucían influences. Music culture in Spain may be said to be a combination of Flamenco music and traditional music.

The two dramatists; Felix Lope de Vega and Pedro Calderon de la Barca and a musician Juan Hidalgo were the leading names of 17th century as the creators of Spanish music lyric. In the mid 17th century, a Spanish form of opera called zarzuela developed and flourished.

It was a dramatic musical, alternating dialogues with Spanish lyrics and music. It was a light and lively form of opera. Francisco Barbieri developed romantic zarzuela. In the 20th century, included Pablo Sorozábal and Federico Moreno Torroba were the popular zarzuela composers.

In the initial years of 20th century, Spain was ruled by an oppressive dictator Francisco Franco who abolished and banned all regional literature and music. Folk music could not therefore develop much under this period.

After Franco's rule, pop music and rock 'n' roll emerged. Spain soon had its own rock bands. In the 1960s and 1970s, pop groups such as Brincos, Duo Dinamico, Los Pekiniques, Sirex and soloist such as Nino Bravo, Joan Manuel Serrat came up with refined and renewed rhythms and lyrics.

Spanish folklore music conveys the ways of life of the natives. It was more a poor man's music i.e. of the farmers and the shepherds. In the folklore music, the instruments were the base and functional part. It is said to be a 'harmonious explanation' of the history of the country.

Today, Spanish music is sung and enjoyed by the people worldwide.

Article about: History of Spanish music

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