La musica ficta en la polifonia renaixentista hispànica a través de les adaptacions instrumentals

Student thesis: Doctoral thesis


When we edit or perform a work of Renaissance vocal music we have a fundamental problem: the white Renaissance notation does not have all the information required in order to be performed. One of the most important elements that we do not have is that that we call “chromaticism”. The current editors and performers have to suggest alterations following the musica ficta’s rules from musical treatises of that time. But, in these treatises there is no an unambiguous vision about how those rules must be applied. Among other variables, it is reasonable to think that they could change the rules depending on the moment, the country or the kind of composition. Renaissance is the period in which instrumental music begins to be written. A very important part of its repertoire was constituted by arrangements from vocal music, which were originally written in white notation. Instrumental adaptations were written in tablature, a kind of notation much more explicit regarding the notes that had to be performed. Thanks to the adapters, the practical uses of the musica ficta’s rules have been captured in the tabulatures. In our Doctoral Thesis we analyze fifty-two instrumental arrangements of sacred and profane music from mid-sixteenth century. All these compositions belong to the Hispanic authors Cristóbal de Morales and Juan Vásquez. The uses of musica ficta are systematically analyzed following the Renaissance musical treatises’ rules. Our aim is to establish the normativity of these uses, and define the possible differences between the styles depending on the performer’s personality or the kind of arranged repertoire.
Date of Award17 Jul 2015
Original languageCatalan
SupervisorMaria Carmen Gomez Muntane (Director) & Paloma Otaola González (Director)


  • Chromaticism
  • Polyphony
  • Instrumental music

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