The Villancio in New Spain 1650-1750: morphology, significance and development

Swadley, J. (2014) The Villancio in New Spain 1650-1750: morphology, significance and development. Ph.D. thesis, Canterbury Christ Church University.


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For almost three centuries, the sacred villancico was the primary vernacular musical form of Spain and its New World colonies. Consisting of a through-composed estribillo, or refrain, and a set of strophic coplas, or verses, these ‘devout and honest songs’ (as they were styled by the Third Mexican Provincial Council of 1585) featured in the Matins services of the cathedrals and convents of Mexico throughout the colonial period. This thesis traces the morphology, development and significance of the villancico in New Spain during the one hundred year period from 1650 to 1750, examining the musical development of the genre within the institutional contexts of cathedral, convent and girls’ school. The biographies and villancico oeuvres of the composers Juan Gutiérrez de Padilla, Antonio de Salazar, Manuel de Sumaya, and others who moved in their orbits are reconsidered in light of new music and documentation, while the supposed New World phenomenon of the villancico de negros, or African dialect villancico, receives fresh attention. In separate chapters, the feminine side of genre is examined. The musical aspects of the life of the Hieronymite nun Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz are considered from the viewpoint of the music historian, while the practice of the villancico in the feminine institutions of New Spain is explored. Focussing on period documents as a means of enriching the historical narrative, the thesis is intended as an interpretation of the villancico genre for the English-speaking reader.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Depositing User: Mr Andrew Hudson
Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2017 15:49
Last Modified: 02 Jun 2018 17:06

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00