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Alonso Mudarra (c.1510-1580)

Mudarra Tres libros de musica en cifras para vihuela

Tres libros de musica en cifras para vihuela

Alonso Mudarra, in addition to writing music for the Vihuela, wrote the earliest surviving four-course guitar music. Mudarra’s exact place and date of birth are unknown, but he grew up in Guadalajara and probably traveled to Italy with his patron, the duke of the Infantado, and Charles V of Spain.

We do, however, know a lot about Mudarra’s life after he returned form Italy. He entered the priesthood, eventually becoming a canon at Seville cathedral and oversaw musical activities there.

His book of vihuela and guitar music, Tres libros de musica en cifras para vihuela, was published in 1546. It contains fantasias, differencias (variation sets), instrumental dances (pavanas & a gallarda), short prelude-like pieces, several pieces for four-course guitar, and one piece for harp and organ. Mudarra uses symbols to indicate tempos, and he discusses plucking technique in his book’s preface.

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Notable Concert Works by Mudarra

Fantasia X – this is probably the work that put Mudarra on your radar. Great piece, played often.

Gallarda

Fantasia XIV

Renaissance Vihuela Composers