Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Santa Barbara

UC Santa Barbara Electronic Theses and Dissertations bannerUC Santa Barbara

A Historical and Performance Companion to the Art Song of the 16th Century Spanish Vihuelistas With Texts and Translations


The purpose of this document is to provide guidance in the repertoire and performance practice of the art songs of the 16th century Spanish vihuela composers. The document begins with historical information on the music, discussing its specific genres, tablature, and origins. Further, three composers, Luis Milán (1500-1561), Luys de Narváez (fl. 1526-1549), and Alonso Mudarra (1508-1580), are discussed in detail. This study examines and offers insight into their lives and musical style. Eventually, my work in this area will expand to include the seven major vihuela composers. In later chapters, issues of performance practice are discussed, such as ornamentation, voice type, diction of early Spanish, and choice of instrument.

Because so little has been written about this music in comparison to other genres of accompanied solo song, research posed no small challenge. The writings of John Ward and John Griffiths have been especially helpful. Both of these scholars have devoted their lives to this music and remain among the most respected experSts in the field. Their writings extensively informed this study.

A unique part of our investigation is a section on the guitarist-singer collaboration. While there are many books dedicated to the pianist-singer collaboration, none familiar to me have been written on the collaboration between guitarist and singer. My own expertise as a performer served as the chief source of information. This section guides people in making the collaboration as effective as possible.

Finally, as resource material, this study includes song texts and translations for compositions of the three composers discussed in detail.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View