Canción (Sp.: ‘song’)
- Jack Sage
- , revised by Susana Friedmann
A term used by poets and musicians up to the 15th century more or less interchangeably with ‘cantiga’, cantar, the Galician-Portuguese canson, etc., and from the 17th century to the 19th with cantar, oda, poema etc. From about 1450 to about 1530 its meaning tended to be restricted to a refrain song, like the villancico in its characteristic ABBA musical form but often more contrapuntal and usually based on a more serious poetic theme. Encina's contention that the Villancico refrain had fewer than four and the canción refrain more than four lines of poetry is true of most of his own pieces but noticeably less true of other compositions in his day. The compiler of the table of contents of the Cancionero Musical de Palacio, working about 1500, apparently abandoned an initial plan to place canciones in a different category from villancicos, thereby reflecting a general tendency to look on so-called ‘fixed’ forms as flexible. From the 1530s, Spanish poets often turned to Italian forms in their various combinations of seven- and 11-syllable lines, including the canzone, and Spanish musicians such as Mudarra and Daza soon began to use the word ‘canción’ to designate a setting of an italianate poem in Castilian. Some 16th-century instrumental composers, for example Luys de Narváez and Venegas de Henestrosa, labelled arrangements or intabulations of French chansons ‘canción’ as well. In the 16th century and occasionally in the 17th ‘canción’ was sometimes used synonymously with ...