Book of Songs
   Gregorian singing would be forgotten after polyphonic music -from ars antiqua (12th and 13th centuries)- derived from Nôtre Dame School. Polyphony would be surpassed by Ars Nova (1230): this name is taken from a work by Philip of Vitry.
   Polyphony superimposes different melodies separated by intervals of fourths, fifths or eighths. It implies an improvement in music writing. Works cited in prior section also include works from spanish ars antiqua and nova, as well as Toledo’s manuscript, from Nôtre Dame School.

Polyphonic Manuscript


Record with
works by Peire Vidal
   Romance Monody
   Romance songs would have existed from the beginning, but we only keep written samples from trovadours music.
   Trouvadours were poets, composers or performers in language of oc, from Catalonia and the south of French. Trouvers would have used the language of oïl. Trouvadours may reflect arabian influences in their art.
   We can find a list of authors from Guillaume d’Aquitanie (1071-1126) to travellers in castilian court: Peire d’Alvernha (1149-1168), Peire Vidal (1183-1204), Guiraud Riquier (1254-1292)… Berenguer de Palou (ca.1164), Guillém de Berguedá (1138-1192) and Guillem de Cabestany (ca.1212) came from Catalonia.



   Occitanian influence can be seen in galaico-portuguese cantigas of love. We keep the music of seven cantigas of friend by Martín Códax (13th century).
   Cantigas to Saint Mary by Alphonse 10th the Wise (1252-1284) compose the biggest corpus. They are close to arabian zejel and could be written by some relative to Fray Gil de Zamora. They would be sung with the help of musical instruments.
   Some scholars think that epic poems or religious dramatic texts could have been accompanied by music, as Song of Sibyl. Works as Book of Good Love (1343) deal with organography -discipline for musical instruments-.



Musical Songbook from Palace
    Evolution of polyphony
   From the end of 14th century vocal polyphonic music was performed by chapels, groups of singers conducted by a master who played for Cathedrals. High voices were suitable for children -often sixes– and low ones for adults -tiple, contralto, tenor and bass-. Soon, an organ player would be added por daily sessions -another one for solemnities- and minstrels with wind instruments -flutes, chirimies, sacabuches, bassons, bugles- that strengthened main voices.

Page from
Songbook of Segovia


Songbook of Colombine
   We cannot find relics of clear peninsular polyphonic music until the last third of 15th century.
   There were important royal chapels that knew german or flamish fashions at the beginning of 16th century. Many kings and nobles created their own chapels.
   Religious music is always adapted to the liturgy: motetes, masses, offices and villancicos. Profane one offers villancicos, songs, ballads and madrigals. Instrumental one is represented by verses -usually for keyboards-, fantasies for vihuela, glosses, differencies, tientos…


Songbook of Uppsala (1556)
   A collection of profane music is collected in Songbook of Colombine, in Musical Songbook of Palace and in Songbook of Segovia. Its authors are the vasque Juan de Anchieta (15th century-1523), Francisco de Peñalosa (ca.1470-1528), Pedro de Escobar and Juan del Encina (1468-1530).
   This kind of music is also represented by the printed Songbook (1556), found in Uppsala Library.

Songbook of Uppsala