View Full Version : CAT| Music tradition

Comte Arnau
02-14-2011, 02:27 AM
Since I was asked about the specificity of Catalan music, here I post this thread for those who can appreciate it.

The Catalan lands must be understood either as a part of southern France entering Iberia or as one of the main Iberian corridors through which European influences entered the Peninsula, via France or Italy. It is not surprising, then, to see it as a mixture of these traditions, closer to France and Italy in the beginning, closer to its Iberian neighbours from the 15th century onwards.


I'll try to offer a few samples in a chronological way. So this first post is only about medieval Catalan music. And just a little taste.

El cant de la Sibil·la (The Sybyl's Song)
A song about the coming of Doom's Day according to the prophecies of the sybyl Eritrea.
Performed in Catalan monasteries as early as the 10th century, it was spread by the Catalans in the 13th century over the Crown of Aragon and is performed still today at Christmas' Eve in churches of Majorca and Alghero (Italy). Recently declared World Heritage by UNESCO.
Usually performed by either child or women voices.


Tant m'abelís, by the Catalan troubadour Berenguer de Pallol, one of the earliest troubadours.
Between the 12th and 14th centuries, we Catalans and Occitans (modern Southern France) considered ourselves one same people and used the same language to sing about love, long before Castilians, French or Italians did.
Berenguer sang his love to Ermessen of Avignon, wife of Arnaut of Avignon. The video shows the lyrics. Some may notice why the language of Catalans and Occitans is in a central position between French, Spanish/Portuguese and Italian.


Los set goytxs (The 7 joys) - It's the 14th century and medieval poliphony has arrived.
This song in Catalan with the chorus in Latin is one of the songs in the remarkable Red Book of the Montserrat Abbey, centre of pilgrimage near Barcelona, from the Middle Ages to these days.
The video shows the lyrics alongside with pictures of Catalan-Aragonese Gothic art.


El Misteri d'Elx (The Mystery of Elche) - World Heritage too. Another medieval feast celebrated to date in Elche, near Alicante, in the middle of August, about the mystery of Virgin Mary's death and assumption.
Text in Catalan is from half 15th century. Music from a century later, with possible Eastern and Jewish influence.
The video is an amateur recording of someone in the church.


I'll step into Catalan Renaissance, Modern and Contemporary music any other day.

03-01-2011, 10:29 AM
Interesting thread. :thumb001:

Between the 12th and 14th centuries, we Catalans and Occitans (modern Southern France) considered ourselves one same people and used the same language to sing about love, long before Castilians, French or Italians did.

"Monges, digatz, segon vòstra sciença,
qual valon mais, Catalan o Francés
e met de sai Gasconha e Proença,
e Limosin, Alvèrnha e Vianés,
e de lai met la tèrra dels dos reis"

Albertet de Sisteron (1194-1221)

Comte Arnau
03-31-2011, 07:28 PM
Renaissance comes and with it, the dynastic union between Isabella of Castille and Ferdinand of Aragon. Since the power is not balanced and Castilianization begins to affect gradually the high layers of the Aragonese Crown, many of the pieces composed in here are often in the Castilian language. However, one also finds some 'hits' in Catalan in the Court of the Catholic Kings, like the sweet Renaissance love song:

Bella, de vós som amorós (Oh Beautiful, it's thee I love)

Bella de vós som amorós - Ja fósseu mia! - Sempre sospir quan pens en vós - La nit i dia
Beautiful, thee I do love - Wish thou were mine! - I sigh whene'er I think of thee - Be night or day...


Here an example of a Renaissance song in Castilian made by a Catalan composer, Mateu Fletxa the Elder.

Viva nuestro capitán (Long Live Our Captain)
(With lyrics)


Madrigals are typical of the time. Here you have one,composed by mestre Joan Brudieu on a poem by the greatest of Catalan Renaissance poets, the Valencian Ausiàs March.

No hi ha béns, no hi ha fortuna (There are no goods, there is no fortune)
--The spectacular pictures are from a village of Girona, Catalonia, by J.L. Mieza

Comte Arnau
12-04-2011, 07:54 PM
Iberia might be known for its string instruments (Spanish guitars and bandurrias, Portuguese cavaquinhos...) but Catalan music has traditionally been more associated with wind instruments, particularly woodwind reed ones in the oboe family (grallas and dolçainas, tarotas...), which are Catalan shawms, but also flutes like the flabiol (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flabiol), trumpets and trombones, or Catalan bagpipes like the sac de gemecs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sac_de_gemecs) (bag of moans).

In fact, wind instruments are majoritarian in the cobla (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cobla), the traditional music ensemble which accompanies the sardana (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sardana), regarded nowadays as the national dance of Catalonia. The origin of the 'round dance' gets lost in time, but the cobla was restructured by Pep Ventura in the 19th century. This is a performance of his Per tu ploro (I cry for you).


The same sardana, danced by sardanists in a village.


But the 19th century was going to see the guitar gaining territory to other instruments such as the harp in salons and other places. Mestres like Francesc Tàrrega (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francisco_Tarrega) (known internationally by the Spanish name of Francisco Tárrega) or Ferran Sor would contribute greatly to it. Don't expect the typical 'Iberian guitar sound', but rather Romantic delicacy.


Ferran Sor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fernando_Sor) might be more representative of those Romantic times. He's also known by the Spanish name of Fernando and nicknamed as 'The Beethoven of guitar'. Two samples:


A Russian duo playing Sor:


The last part of the century was going to see the promotion of choral and orchestral music. Traditional songs composed on Romantic poems by the newly boosted Catalan literature appeared, such as L'emigrant (The Emigrant), composed by Amadeus Vives on lyrics by Verdaguer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacint_Verdaguer) --one of the most moving songs for Catalans abroad, in a time when many Catalans moved to the Americas.

Dolça Catalunya, pàtria del meu cor, quan de tu s'allunya, d'enyorança es mor.
Sweet Catalonia, my heart's fatherland, when someone moves away from you, he dies of yearning.

The century would end with compositions from two of the most famous Catalonian composers, Albéniz (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Alb%C3%A9niz)and Granados (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enrique_Granados).

01-20-2012, 02:24 PM
The spectacular pictures are from a village of Girona, Catalonia, by J.L. Mieza

Girona m'enamora :love:
Bé, suposo qu'ara hem de dir "Girona m'emociona" :rolleyes: Coi de polítics...