Music of the
     Spanish Renaissance

Like many good stories, the history of Tamburrini began with a happy accident, when guitarist Steve Walter discovered a vihuela - an early Spanish guitar - in his local recorder shop.  This find opened up a new repertoire - the music of Renaissance Spain, blending European elegance with the fire of Moorish tradition. 

Our interest in the songs of the Spanish Renaissance is two fold.  Many of the songs use melodies from the folk tradition with lyrics that are simple, direct and universal.  The music also provides enormous scope for improvisation and varied instrumental textures.

Tamburrini have pleased a range of audiences from the Bath and Brighton Festivals to recitals at the national Early Music Exhibition in London.  The group continues to expand their breadth and depth of performance.

To find out more and to hear Tamburrini - click on the links below.  We hope you enjoy our website!






The Golden Age of Spanish music

The late fifteenth century was a time of transition for Spain. From the eighth century this was a largely Muslim country. The Christians gradually gained supremacy culminating in the triumphant wedding of Ferdinand and Isabella, and the recapture of Granada from the Moors in 1492.

These events heralded vast imperial expansion and the 'Golden Age' of Spanish music which married European elegance with the passion and exuberant rhythms of Moorish Folk music. From this fusion came a unique songbook, the Songs of the Palace. The songs speak of the changing fortunes of Moor and Christian in a time of great upheaval. They celebrate the lives of ordinary people, pilgrimages and festivities, food and wine, animals and crops. And above all they tell of the universal human concerns of desire, love and loss - in bawdy verse or through subtle erotic imagery.

Tamburrini were formed through a shared interest in this music. They aim to capture the excitement and spontaneity at the heart of the music, whether passionate love song or rustic dance.

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Folk inspired melodies

One of the attractions of Spanish court music from the Renaissance is its use of melodies from the popular folk tradition like the one you can hear by clicking .mid sound file. The lyrics are often simple and direct and in this case describe the passions of a young woman burning both from within and from the heat of the Andalucian sun.

"My pain is from love"
"Go out my lady, from under the orange tree
Since you are so beautiful,
Burn yourself in the air"
"My pain is from love"

It was a common practice for musicians in the Renaissance to improvise accompaniments to songs as jazz or blues musicians have done in this century. In this song, Tamburrini have continued the tradition by providing their own accompaniment in a Renaissance style. One important development of the group in the last few months is the composition of new pieces based on ancient Moorish folk songs where only the melody and the words have survived.

Whether your interest is in early music folk or jazz, we hope you will discover the spontaneity and excitement which Tamburrini bring to these songs and dances, in one of our future gigs.

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This document was created by Carol Attwood
Last modified 13/3/03