9th Biennial Conference on Baroque Music


Harmonic Theories and Harmonic Practices of the Spanish Baroque as Presented in the Works of Andrés Lorente, Pablo Nassarre, and José de Torres

Paul Murphy

The author will delineate the emergence of a Baroque conception of harmony among selected Spanish writers whose lives and thought encompassed a transitional period in Baroque musical culture. This time period spans a monumental event in Spain's history: the transfer of rule in 1700 from the Hapsburg dynasty to the Bourbon dynasty. Philip V and his Italian wives brought to Madrid's Real Capilla interest in French music and dancing, and a host of foreign musicians, mostly from Italy. These changes in musical culture exemplify a change in harmonic practice from one that retained features of Spain's prima-prattica tradition to one that cultivated a more cosmopolitan Baroque conception of harmony and dissonance control found prominently in thoroughbass accompaniment.

Much of the research undertaken for this project was completed in conjunction with the author's forthcoming monograph to be issued by Indiana University Press. The first objective of the paper is to introduce the treatises of Andrés Lorente (1624-1703), Pablo Nassarre (1664-1724), and José de Torres (c. 1670-1738) in a brief comparative summary of their works to present a context for this change in harmonic thought. The second objective is to clarify differences in harmonic vocabulary among the authors and to explain their pedagogical methods for utilizing harmonies in "progressions." The third objective treats dissonance control in the contexts of Spain's prima prattica tradition, preserved through much of the seventeenth century, and the fully-developed modern approach to instrumental accompaniment found abundantly in Spanish music of the eighteenth century.

Conference Timetable
List of Participants
Last updated on 22 March 2000 by Yo Tomita