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date: 27 January 2020

Alborada (Sp.: ‘dawn song’).locked

  • Maricarmen Gómez


(Sp.: ‘dawn song’).

A morning serenade or song performed in honour of an individual or to celebrate a festival; it is similar to the albada, an open-air concert performed at daybreak under the balcony or windows of an honoured individual. In the mid-15th century it was customary for the instrumentalists of noble Spanish households to perform the alvorada at dawn on the most solemn festival days of the religious calendar and on other important days. For example, in the household of Miguel Lucas de Iranzo, the Constable of Castile, the instrumentalists, playing ‘softly’, would perform the alborada, placing the loudest instruments, such as the trumpets and kettledrums, on the floor above the Constable’s bedroom and the remaining instruments and the singers at his door.

Alboradas abound in the Spanish folk repertory. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries they were sung in villages at dawn on the day of a wedding, accompanied by local instruments; they were dedicated to the bride and groom and occasionally also to the best man. On other occasions, the alborada took the form of a personal chant dedicated to Jesus or to a specific saint; it was sung by the women standing close to the venerated image, which was carried through the streets in a dawn procession. In the marshes of Valencia, ‘aubades’ (alboradas) were popular strophic songs accompanied by the dulzaina (oboe) and tamboril (small drum); the text and melody of one such song – three stanzas and a refrain – survives in ...

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Revista de musicología