Sackbut Class description


The Iberian Peninsula


A Potpourri of Music

from Three Unique Sources:


El Cancionero Musical de la Casa Medinaceli, the Lerma Codex

& el Cancionero de la Sablonara


Main topics:

Ornamentation and improvisation after Ortiz and Santa María

The Lerma wind band manuscript & the civic wind band in Spain

Text placement, phrasing and the Lerma Codex

Understanding the structure of a piece through cadences and thematic material



     Continuing the chronological progression from the Fall, this Springs’s sackbut workshop, running concurrently with the early double reed workshop, will focus on music of the Iberian Peninsula from the second half of the 16th century and early 17th century.  Instead of focusing on one genre in particular, this time around we will explore a much wider variety of genres present in Spanish and Portuguese musical life through three important manuscripts: the Cancionero Musical de la Casa Medinaceli with its variety of villancicos, the Lerma Codex, a collection of untexted vocal music from the ducal chapel of Lerma reserved for the minstrels, and the Cancionero de la Sablonara with its spicy rhythms to keep everyone on their toes.


The first half of each day will be dedicated to sackbut techniques and performance practice.  We will again look towards Diego Ortiz’s Trattado de Glosas (1553) for examples of how to ornament, but this time in comparison to Fr. Thomas de Sancta Maria’s ideas on ornamentation from his Arte de tañer Fantasia (1565).  We will be spending more time on applying the cadential formulae to polyphonic pieces and the ornaments over various intervals to the tune Pange Lingua, several settings of which can be found in the Lerma codex.  There will be two main foci to the discussions on performance practice.  The first is how to develop a better understanding of the structure of a piece through recognizing its cadences and changes in thematic material both aurally and visually.  The second will revisit the rules on text underlay, where we will apply them to more examples from the Lerma codex to better understand the phrasing of these untexted, vocal works.


Afternoons and evenings will consist of playing sessions in mixed groups of sackbuts and double reeds.  Each day will be dedicated to one of the manuscripts mentioned above and on Saturday musicologist Paul Borg will give a lecture on the Lerma codex, its origins and its function.  Participants will also have the opportunity to play the role of a critical listener and coach for their group.

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