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date: 13 December 2019

Cancionero (Sp.: ‘songbook’; Port. cancioneiro)locked

  • Jack Sage
  • , revised by Susana Friedmann


(Sp.: ‘songbook’; Port. cancioneiro)

The term has in practice been used from the 15th century more often to designate a collection or anthology of poems without music, whether intended for singing or not. Indeed, the words ‘cancionero’ and ‘cancioneiro’ did not begin to appear in the titles of songbooks with music until the 19th century. Hence, some Spanish scholars now use the term ‘cancionero musical’ for a songbook with music.

The earliest Castilian collections now designated ‘cancioneros’ are two 15th-century anthologies of learned poems, one compiled in 1445 by Alfonso de Baena primarily for Juan II of Castile, the other a similar compilation made by Lope de Stúñiga for Alfonso V at the Spanish court of Naples about 1458. Neither was originally entitled ‘cancionero’, but the compilers must have had the classical link between poetry and music in mind since some of the poems are expressly described as having been set to music. The word ‘cancionero’ was first printed in a title in the ...

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