Back to index
Sanhuesa Fonseca, Maria

Educación, Pensamiento y Teoría de la Musica en la Espanha del Siglo XVII
(Education, Thought and Musical Theory in 17th-Century Spain)

Ph.D. Universidad de Oviedo (Spain), 1998
(msanhues@las.es)

With this PhD Dissertation we discuss the names and writings of our musical theorists during the 17th century, as well as the history of music education in Spanish civil society of the period on the basis of theory and of extra-musical documents. The dissertation is organized in two main parts, the first of them of a historical character and the second systematic. The first thematic section deals with the musical training at the courts and other upper society throughout the 17th century, assessing the theoretical pattern for the education of princes, the role of music and dance in their education, and the musical learning of such rulers as Philip III, Philip IV and Charles II.

The noble classes and upper society of the 17th century society enjoyed a musical training; we show the educational models for the Spanish nobility, types and categories of private masters of music and dance, the musical training of women, the circulation of musical training in diverse social classes, and their presence in rather private or half-private settings, such as soirees or literary circles.

The second section has a clear systematizing character, contrary to the diachronic perspective of the previous block. In it, we have compiled a catalogue of 17th-century Spanish musical theory treatises in chronological order, including a description and comment on their content, the location of extant copies and bibliographical references. The cataloguing is divided into two big sections. The first one groups together those treatises of which there is at least one copy; the second, the non-extant treatises of which some reference to their author and/or title has survived, together with some brief textual information. With all this, we aim at handling as complete a catalogue as possible.

The third and last of the thematic blocks of the dissertation, of a mainly theoretical kind, attempt an analysis of style in 17th-century Spanish musical theory. We have examined the language used in the treatise and its internal coherence, the relationship between author and recipient and the personality of the authors as shown in laconic or exuberant styles (short or great treatises, respectively). The interaction between expression and content is also analysed; that is, concept presentation, quotations from other authors, literary, musical and graphic examples, typographical disposition, glossaries and bibliographical repertoires of the treatises. We have also considered their use on the side of the recipients: different addressees for the treatises, their use under the guidance of a master, substitution of a master for a treatise, the disciples'intervention in their music learning process through the reading of treatises, the existence of different levels of content and difficulty inside the same writing, and the answer of the Spanish theory to the needs of the possible recipients of that moment as regards different approaches to music learning. We finish with a study on the role of moralities in the 17th-century treatise production and a discussion and revision of these concepts in Spanish music historiography. Pertinent conclusions have also been drawn.