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International Music Resources by Country: Spain

International Music Resources offers an array of online and physical resources both freely available and/or offered by the George F. DeVine Music Library. The information included in these guides may serve as a starting point for the study and research of

Panoramic photo of Toledo

Citation (1)

Map of Spain

Map of Spain

Citation (2)


Listen to Spanish Music

Colors of Spain Album Art

Spain: Songs and Dances Album Art

Garland Encyclopedia of Music-Spain

Garland Encyclopedia of World Music Cover Art

Facts in Brief

Spain flag

The Kingdom of Spain is situated in south-western Europe. Following the civil war of 1936–39 Gen. Francisco Franco y Bahamonde established an authoritarian regime. After King Juan Carlos succeeded Franco as Head of State in 1975 democratic government was rapidly introduced. From 1982–96 the Partido Socialista Obrero Español (PSOE) was the dominant party in government. The Partido Popular (PP), led by José María Aznar, governed from 1996 until 2004, when the PSOE won the general election. The PSOE was re-elected in March 2008. At an early general election in November 2011 the PP led by Mariano Rajoy defeated the PSOE. After a general election held in December 2015, at which the PP lost its overall majority, no viable government could be formed, and fresh elections were held in June 2016, when the PP again emerged as the largest party, but without an overall majority. Rajoy was re-elected as Prime Minister by the Congress of Deputies in October. He was replaced by PSOE leader Pedro Sánchez in June 2018 after a vote of no confidence. As no viable coalition could be formed following an early election in April 2019, fresh elections were held in November. A coalition Government, under Sánchez, comprising the PSOE and Unidas Podemos, took office in January 2020. Madrid is the capital. Spanish is the principal language.

Citations (3 and 4)

Spanish Music (Grove Music Online)

Research into the traditional music of Spain began only in the 19th century, although earlier folksong collections, known as cancioneros, exist. During this period an increasing interest in traditional life and the study of folklore led to the collecting of folksongs. In 1799 a collection of seguidillas by J.A. Iza Zamácola appeared (under the pseudonym of Don Preciso), and in the 19th century a major interest in folklore emerged among small groups of intellectuals, particularly in Spanish territories with incipient regionalism, such as the Basque country, Catalonia and Galicia. As early as 1826, for instance, J.I. de Iztueta published a collection of Basque dances with musical transcriptions (see Basque music for a bibliography of further collections). Despite this, 19th-century interest focused on folksong; the greatest number of collectors were from a literary background or were folklorists. As a result most collections were restricted to literary texts: for example, those of Serafín Estébanez Calderón, Manuel Murguía and Marià Aguiló. Those of Manuel Milà i Fontanals and Antonio Machado y Alvarez deserve special attention. The first, influenced by Herder and German philology, carried out important research on balladry with a methodological rigour at that time unusual in Spain. His Romancerillo catalán also included some melodies published as an appendix. Machado y Alvarez's clear positivistic approach, with an interest in folk literature, particularly in the area of Andalusia, included several studies on flamenco song. In 1881Machado y Alvarez founded the society El Folk-Lore Español, which encouraged research on traditional Spanish folksong.

At the end of the 19th century the publication of songs with their melodies became more frequent, often as a small appendix, as in the Cancionero vasco of José de Manterola and the Cantos populares españoles of Francisco Rodríguez Marín. More importance was given to musical transcription in the collections of Pau Bertran y Bros, F.P. Briz, José Inzenga and Eduardo Ocón. Towards the close of the 19th century R.M. de Azkue assembled the material for his monumental Cancionero vasco and Casto Sampedro y Folgar his Cancionero gallego, works that would not be published until many years later. Also part of the musicological production of the 19th century was the work of Mariano Soriano Fuertes, whose Historia de la música española desde la venida de los fenicios hasta el año 1850, a speculative study, was seemingly based on previous work of Josep Teixidor. This book considers musical aspects, which today are considered to belong to the modern field of ethnomusicology, describing the music of old colonizers from Spain; it also includes some Spanish folktunes as an appendix.

A number of publications from the end of the 19th century attest an increased interest in folksong. These were largely the initiatives of isolated people with non-existent or at best weak support from academic or other public institutions. Many such works were of nationalistic character and for general public consumption, resulting in materials edited according to the literary and musical aesthetic objectives of the time.

By the beginning of the 20th century, the study of traditional music was increasingly influenced by incipient Spanish musicology, most prominently the theoretical work of the musicologist and composer Felipe Pedrell. A survey of his substantial work concerning musical folklore appears in the four-volume Cancionero musical popular español (1918–22), which contains theoretical reflections as well as numerous melodies from all corners of Spain. His teaching on musical nationalism strongly influenced not only Spanish musicologists such as Higini Anglès and J.A. de Donostia but also some of the most important Spanish composers of the 20th century (e.g. Albéniz, Falla, Granados, Turina).

Citation (5)

Streaming Video: Flamenco






(5): Stevenson, R., Gómez, M., Stein, L., Recasens, A., Castillo, B., Perez, J., Cunningham, M., Pelinski, R., Aiats, J., García, S., & Palacín, A.  (2001). Spain. Grove Music Online. Retrieved 22 Apr. 2020, from