The "Cancioneiros" , or songbooks (Portugal and Spain, 15th and 16th centuries).

The "Cancioneiros" (songbooks, literally) are one of the most important musical testimonies of the renaissance. The tradition of these musical and poetical assemblages comes from the 13th and 14th centuries, when the first court collections of music appeared.

Yet, with the renaissance and the great growth of mundane festivities, the amount of profane poetry an music productions increased, and in this context appears the renaissance "cancioneiro", that usually includes "vilancicos", "tentos" and "glosas" (iberian and italian genders), theatrical music, and the first great instrumental pieces (generally dances), for wind instruments, guitars, and viols, and from the middle ages instrumental music and vocal composition, we can distinguish a great evolution in many aspects, in these collections' music.

The most important cancioneiros still remaining are: "Cancioneiro do Palácio", "Cancioneiro del Duc de Calabria", "Cancioneiro del Medinacelli", "Cancioneiro de Elvas", and the three portuguese main "cancioneiros":" Cancioneiro da Vaticana", "Cancioneiro da Biblioteca Nacional" and "Cancioneiro da Ajuda".


Reccomended recordings:

Cancioneiro de Medinacelli: Hesperion XX, Savall, Astreé Auvidis.

Cancioneiro do Duc de Calabria: Hesperion XX, Savall, Astreé Auvidis.

Cancioneiro de Palacio: Hesperion XX, Savall, Astreé Auvidis.




A page from the Elvas Cancioneiro                                                    A page from the Belém Cancioneiro (séc. XVI)