Spanish Baroque music

Spanish Baroque music is basically a combination of school as well as popular music. Melody, instrumentation, color, and rhythms all have a bit of Arabian touch to it. The development of Baroque music took place not through court music but popular music. Thereafter, it was included into the tradition of Spain. The Spanish that belonged to the 18th century were always fascinated by the 16th century’s polyphony and music was composed in such a style.

Popular composers of Spain

The composers of Spain like Antonio Literes, Sebastian Duron and Jose de Torres made use of combined rhythms. As far as Literes is concerned, there are quartet of 4 different voices and each using a different rhythm while singing with accents that falls in various places. Several Spanish composers during that period were dissatisfied with the voice and the rhythm of the bass. They added several rhythms with the percussion and continuo.

Some of the complex rhythms like a flamenco drum player restructured this particular atmosphere. The changes in the rhythm in Spanish baroque music remain constant. When it comes to the pizzicato string continuo which played similar to guitars, the typical tetra chords, the castanets combined with classic gallant is something that attracts the listeners always.

Overview of Tono humano

The tono humano is basically a Castilian language performed for theatrical productions in addition to chamber music. It is a vocal composition with either one or more voices with a usual structure based on a compilation of verses and refrain. The main themes involved here are tragedy, triumph and love. The basic structure and its pattern, the range of styles and forms areconsiderable and also include a prolonged passage of recitative of the Italy. The stylistcharacteristics of the tono humano are basically the use of beautiful rhythms that are popular hemiola styles and lyricism that never fails.

Scope of theatre music in Spain

The theatre music indeed became quite popular in Spain in the 17th century, mostly in court circles. The combination of elements exists from the operatic innovation patterns of Italy, the court theatre music of France and the original vocal and instrumental practices of Spanish. Philip IV had a keen interest for theatre and during his kingdom music evolved in the various kinds of stage productions such as the Comedia, the zarzuela and Opera. The comedia was interpolated by none other than tono humano. The zarzuela is basically a dramatic entertainment that includes arioso and recitative passages in additionto tonoshumano. As far as Italian styled opera is concerned, it took a little time to form itself in Spain.

Origin of Zarzuela

The foundation of zarzuela dates back to the 17th century and its name was originated from a pavilion that was overgrown with bushes of blackberry in a remote area of El Prado Park. Several actors would gather at this pavilion to exhibit their plays and also entertained the King Philip IV.  The major difference between Spain and other European countries is merely the nobility. The noblemen in Spain that were not close to the court did not have much influence on music when compared to the provincial noblemen in France and Italy. The composition of music mainly took place with popular composers in Madrid.

Sarabande Music – Its History and Features

Sarabande is a form of slow dance that originated from Central America. It is a popular performance dance that is beautifully crafted and what makes it unique is the music that accompanies it. the first mention of the dance and music was in 1539 in historical records. This genre of music or compositions was also known as zarabanda as found in poems of the poet Fernando Guzman Mexia. The poems that he wrote were the basis of the dance and music that was formed as a distinct genre later on.

Nature of this artistic form

The music helps to construct a dance that is of a triple meter formation. By the time the New World colonists were present, this dance form started to gain popularity in colonies. Nationals of Spanish origin who travelled back and forth carried the art form of sarabandes to different regions as well as into the homeland. However the form of dance was considered erotic by many. For these reasons the dance form was banned in 1583 as it was found too obscene to be exhibited in public shows. However, the music and dance form are still evident in many literary writings even today.


The Baroque period saw a resurgence of sarabande which also found its way into instrumental suites. Several compositions of sarabande genre are now mixed in modern compositions and form the base of popular dance forms. The triple meter form that is a distinguishing feature of the dance has been slowed down in speed in modern versions. Accordingly the music too has become sedated and more attuned to the modern sensibilities of the European society. In such ways a new age version of sarabande music and dance was formed.

Changes in the 20thcentury

In the twentieth century the music of sarabande saw several revisions. For instance, the tempo of the music increased from the sedated version that it had moved to. Composers like Debussy and Satie were responsible for the revival. The music was revived and brought back to its full glory as well as accompanying moves revisited to suit the tastes of the modern generation. Sarabande music is considered a treat of Spanish culture and it is said that this art form helps bring back romance into dance. Today it is still considered to be an epitome of Spanish dance though there have been considerable influences of US, English and French culture in the dance. The music composition has also undergone considerable experimentation.

In original Spanish music creations of this genre one will still find the 12/8 meter, percussions and a quick pace to it. though several changes have come about in the music since then the 3/4th time is a feature that still remains in the scores along with an accent that arises on the second beat. Those who compose or study music look around for Sarabande music scores and get inspired by the same even today which is an integral part of this romantic dance form.

Claves and their role in Spanish music

Claves is an instrument that belongs to the percussion category. It is an instrument that is an integral part of Latin American music of all genres. The sounds of the percussion instrument resonates in all salsa music as well as in dance music like Mambo and Rumba. The instrument exists in different varieties which are used throughout in Cuba, Latin America as well as in US. You will also find the instrument’s sound incorporated in many modern music forms these days. this percussion instrument is also a teaching tool. Children can be easily taught the use of this instrument as there are no notes involved and kids become aware of rhythms as well as differentrhythmic patterns by learning to use the music instrument.

About the instrument

When we talk of a set of claves it is usually a wooden instrument as per its original form. Nowadays even plastic or fiberglass variants are available. The instrument comprises of two sticks. One stick needs to be held in the palm of one hand while the other is held in the other hand. Sound is created when the stick on the palm is struck. This is the male clave while the striking stick is the female clave. The sticks might vary in size but in general the claves are usually eight inches in length and are about an inch in thickness. Claves are usually dowel shaped with rounded and ends that are evenly cut. Many say that the Cubans invented this percussion instrument though there are influences of aboriginal tribes of American, Spanish and African origins as well.

Similarities with other instruments

There are similar instruments that resemble claves and are used in different parts of the world. For instance, Asian music genres have many percussion instruments similar to claves. This is one of the most basic percussion instrument that is used in Spanish music though there are other variants found as well.

Mastering the instrument

It should not be assumed that playing the instrument is simple, only about banging two sticks together to create a rhythm. Indeed, playing the clave takes mastery and skill. Players create certain rhythmic patterns with the instrument that need to be rhythmic and consistent. Those who master the instrument learn how to modulate the sound as well. this depends on how and where one strikes the male clave. The skill in playing the instrument depends on the force, area as well as speed at which the clave is struck. This is a skill that develops with practice and with the right teaching by master instrumentalists.

One can explore this instrument as it is an inexpensive one to procure. Children as well as learners of music can easily procure the instrument. There are different varieties of the instrument available though rosewood variety is considered the best. Depending on the material, the instrument’s sound also changes. For instance, the fiberglass material also produces a unique sound. Many claves are hollow for gaining certain resonance and tone.

Genres of Spanish Music

The genre of music is typically a conventional category for some music piece identification. It shows that the music is part of a convention set or shared tradition. Even though it is possible to use them interchangeably with musical style and musical form, they are different terminologies. There are various ways of dividing music into various genres. Just like most other music types, Spanish music also has a lot of genres. The most popular ones are discussed below.


Flamenco is a form of art native to Murcia, Extremadura and Andalusia in Spain. It is reputed to be one of the most common genres of music in Spain. Flamenco genre consists of pitos (snapping of finger), palmas (clapping of hands), jaleo (vocalizations), baile (dance), toque (playing of guitar) and cante (singing).The history of flamenco could be dated back to 1774.


Jota is another genre that is very popular all over Spin. The root of the genre could be traced to the Aragon area in Spain. The instruments used for the music genre include flute, tambourines, bandurria, guitar and castanets. Dense percussive elements sometimes characterize the music by the people of Aragon.


In the 60s, some young individuals who were fed up of the popular flamenco, cuple and coplagenres, had their ears retrained on England (The Beatles) and France (Sylvie Vartan) originated pop rhythms. Los Brincos and El Duo Dinamico are the most popular songs of the genre.


The Rumba is gotten from flamenco and Cuban ancestors. It is fiery dance that is popular in Catalan, mostly Rumba Tres or Peret as well as its telling stories about Los Changuitos or Los Chichos delinquency in Madrid and telling stories about passion.


This genre of music is much of fun and dancing. One of the examples of pachangueo that is very popular in many countries of the world is Macarena.


Movida is reputed to be more than just a genre of music. It is more of a contra-culture that developed from Madrid during the 80s. It is built on the new wave, punk and glam. Some of the most reputable groups that sang this music type include TinoCasal, Alaska y los Pegamoides and Mecano.


Even though Cuplesounds related to Copla, they are both different genres. The 19th century quick songs in French inspired this genre. It is known by its sensual, brazen and impish lyrics. Some popular Spain cabaret musicians include Olga Ramos and Sara Mont.


This genre of music is related to flamenco in many ways, only that it is faster. The lyrics of songs in the genre usually concentrate on passions that are uncontrollable. Some of the songs in the genre include Tatuaje and Maria de la O by Concha Piquer and Estrellista Castro respectively.


This is an electronic music version in Valencia, Spain. It features rhythms that are marked. Some examples include Viva la fiesta and Asi me gusta a mi by PacoPil and ChimoBayo respectively.

There are many more genres of music available in Spain. The different genres give the opportunity to enjoy different variety of songs and also know how you can refer to your preferred genre type.

Musical instruments in Spain

There are a lot of vibrant cultures associated with the history of Spain. These cultures have over the years influenced the culture of Spain. The traditional music of Spain can be traced to Moorish music, Christian music, Jewish music and the Visigoths as well as the ancient Romans who were responsible for bringing Greek music to the country. The music of the Visigoths consisted of religious chants that are melodic. Over time, distinct sounds have been developed in Spain by the various areas. The sounds are created with the aid of some instruments that help to make the music interesting. Here are 5 of the most common musical instruments used in Spain.

Bongo Drums

This type of drum is made up of 2 drums. The smaller drum is known as the hembra while the bigger is drum known as the macho. A bridge is used to join the 2 drums together in the center. The history of the bongos could be traced to Cuba where it first existed in the 1800s. Drumsticks are not needed to play the drums, as only the hands are used to play it. The bongo could be played when it is sitting on a stand, so that it is easy for the player to move. It could also be placed between the legs of the musician. The traditional bongo drums beat is called marillo in Spanish language, which translates as hammer.


Accordion is also a very important musical instrument that is used in the Basque area of Spain. The 19th century saw Italy influencing the Basque area to using accordion. Trikitixa or hard sound is the name of the music produced when Basque music is accompanied with accordion. The according playing style in Basque music entails staccato triplets and rapid melodies. In modern times, Basque music is a combination of voice, tambourine and trikitixa.


Spain, Italy, Greece and Turkey are some of the Mediterranean countries where castanets have become a major part of their music. The small instruments that are held in the hand have been used to make music for several decades. It has also become a very popular Spanish instrument. Castana wood is traditionally used to make Castanets. Metallic versions of the instrument are also available. They comprise 2 cups, which have a one-sided dip that is slightly curved. A distinct sound is produced due to the drilling of the 2 cups. It is drilled in such a way that one of the cups produces a higher pitch than the other.

Flamenco guitar

It will be impossible to talk about musical instruments in France without talking about the toque or flamenco guitar, which originated from a small Southern Spain region – Andalusia. Melodies and charismatic rhythms are weaved together when the guitar is used. The playing style of the guitar was developed for accompanying music.

Musical instruments are a very important part of music, as only vocals cannot produce interesting music. Different areas have different instruments that are peculiar to them, which characterize their music. There are several musical instrument types in Spain. The most popular include the bongo drums, accordion, castanets and flamenco guitar.

School music tours available in Spain

Spain is a country where a lot of students within and outside Spain usually visit on musical tours. There is always a lot to learn and see during such tours, especially for those who are only aware of their influence on pop music in Latin America.

It is safe to say that Spain has a very evocative, passionate, lively and rich music. There are various and diverse type of Spanish music in the several various regions of Spain. Every music type has its own characteristic instruments blend and sounds. It is possible to get confused by Spanish music riches. Some of the favorite classic music tours in Spain include the Zarzuela, flamenco and Regional music.


Your school should experience the Zarzuela performance if they decide to go on a music tour. The Zarzuela is the opera version in Spain. There are switches between portions that are sung and other portions that are spoken. The performance is usually done alongside an orchestra, and performed by ensemble members and soloists. Various areas have different types of opera play in Spain. Examples include the Catalan Zarzuela, Basque Zarzuela and Catalonia Zarzuela, including the different Hispanic colonies derivatives like the Philippines and Cuba. However, Romantic and Baroque are the two min zarzuela form. You can easily get insights into the culture and history of Spain that will be valuable if you watch both styles performances.


If you are just going to Spain for the first time, or going for a music tour in Spain for the first time, as a school or an individual, attending a flamenco performance will give you an unforgettable and impressive beginning. Linked to the gypsies of Andalusia, the musical form and historic art gives visual and audio delight to the viewers. In 2010, it was declared as ‘Masterpieces of the Intangible and Oral Humanity Heritage, by UNESCO. The flamenco is composed of a lot of elements including zapateados (stomps), Palmas (clapping), baile (dance), toque (guitar music) and cante (singing). All of these of interwoven in such a way that a masterpiece that is seamless is created. You are sure to get humanities, culture, art and history lessons, all at once, by visiting a traditional venue to watch the flamenco.

Regional music

The Aragon region is majorly known for the traditional Spanish dance known as jota. It features percussion and chord instruments alongside dancers who are holding castanets. Visiting Leon, Madrid and Castile on a music tour can give you the opportunity to witness this performance. The version of the jota in these 3 cities is slower than the ones in Aragon, with the instruments been a bit different. You can also visit northwest Atlantic areas such as Asturias, Cantabria and Galacia to witness the use of bagpipes to create a different sound type. Music that is influenced by Moor can be experienced in the Basque area.

There are several lovely music tours available in Spain. This has led to a lot of interest in local and international Spanish music tours been organized. The tours give the opportunity to learn about humanities, culture, art and history of Spain.

Why Spanish music is interesting

There are various music types you are likely to come across if you reside in Spain or ever take a trip to the country. Most of the music types were influenced by Moorish, Arabic and German cultures. Spanish songs have different styles and forms, despite the fact that a lot of people often confuse Spanish music to be the same thing as flamenco, which is just on genre of Spanish music. Here are some factors that make Spanish music interesting.


The history of Spanish music is a very long one that shows a heavy influence of Roman culture and Christian era since before 100AD. With time, there were further influences from other cultures including the Moors, Arabs, Jews, German and Greek culture, which left its mark on Spanish music. Musicians from Spain were able to travel across Europe during the Renaissance era and got to know more about other types of music in the European countries they visited. They subsequently shared such knowledge upon their return.

Continuous Development

Another major strength of Spanish songs that makes it interesting, is the fact that it is continuously been improved upon. Despite the early history of Spanish music, there were a lot of improvement during the eighteenth and twentieth centuries, with new genres emerging including popular, guitar and opera. All of these have enhanced the unique nature of traditional Spanish music.

Musical Instruments

The different areas of Spain and the different genre of music in Spain often have different musical instruments that are linked to them. For the most common form of music and dance in Spain known as flamenco, Andalusia is linked with the genre. Guitars, castanets, bandurria and tambourines are lined to Jota music, which originated from Aragon.The music from the northwestern part of Spain have a unique Celtic influence, with their major musical instruments been zanfona, rebec, harp, fiddle, tamboril and gaita. Txalaparta, alboka and txisu are used by the Basques that are reputed for their choirs. Drums, tabor pipe and charango are used by a local jota type genre of music known as Isa.

Different music types

There are many distinct music sounds in Spain. The music in Leon, Madrid and Castlie were influenced by Gypsy, Visigoth, French, Moorish, Italians, Romans and Jews. Sarada music originated from Catalonia while Extremadura is known for Portuguese music. A lot of Christian songs and musical compositions in Spain were also influenced by Moorish music and they are often performed as accapella. Apart from the musical innovation in Valencia, the country is also known for its music that originated from Mediterranean.

Distinctive sound

Despite the many genres of music in Spain including hip hop, pop, rock, jazz, techno, opera and classical, it is easy to know that the song originated from Spain by just listening to the sound. Several Spanish musician have gone on to become popular all over the world including Enrique Iglesias and Julio Iglesias.

Music in Spain has evolved over the years to include different forms and styles. Spanish songs are also well blended with music in the modern era. All of these have made Spanish music to be very interesting, along with their instruments and dance.


How many genre of music is available in Spain?

There are several genres of music that are available in Spain. Putting an actual number to it could be difficult, as there are some genres that are not popular but exists. Furthermore, new genres are been regularly developed by musicians, based on a number of factors, especially influence on a particular genre of music by a different. Some of the most popular genres of music in Spain include flamenco, ye-ye, rumba, pachangueo, movida, cuple, copla and techno.

What genre of music is the most popular in Spain?

Spain has a lot of popular music that picking the most popular could be contentious. Flamenco however currently has the reputation of been the most popular for a large number of people. In some cases, individuals have erroneously interchange flamenco with Spanish music. Even though flamenco is Spanish music, there are other types of Spanish music apart from flamenco. Another very popular music type in Spain is the jota, with several regions, having their own local version.

Do I have to understand the Spanish language to enjoy Spanish music?

Yes and no. Yes, because you will tend to enjoy the music of any country more if you understand the lyrics of the song. When you don’t know how to speak the Spanish language you will not know the meaning of what is been said, except you have an interpreter. You will, however, have the chance to enjoy the melody of the song and the sounds from the accompanying musical instruments.

What is the easiest way to learn the Spanish language?

There are a lot of ways to learn any language including the Spanish language. If you are looking forward to learning the language as soon as possible, then you should watch Spanish movies that have subtitles in a language you can read fluently. You should also get ‘how to learn Spanish books’, starting with one for kids. You can subsequently go for the more advanced ones as you improve. The use of flash cards and going to spend a couple of weeks or months in Spain is also a great way to learn the language.

What factors make Spanish music popular?

There are several factors that have led to the popularity of Spanish music all over the world. First, Spanish music started very early and have been improved upon over time. This has given Spanish music the opportunity to influence music of some other areas, especially in Latin America. First there are a lot of genres that you will surely love 1 out of the 3 genres you listen to. Furthermore, their unique musical instruments and dances also go a long way to add fun to the music.

How can I learn to play the Spanish guitar?

The Spanish guitar could be difficult to learn except you truly love the flamenco sound and you are highly motivated. You will also require an expert Spanish guitar, preferably a local one to teach you. You might therefore have to travel to Spain to get the right teacher to coach you, if you are out of Spain. Alternatively you could get DVD tutorials or download tutorials from the internet.

About Me

Spanish music has over the years been a very important part of European music as it played a vital role in western music development. It was also a major influence on the music in Latin America. Classical guitar and flamenco are just 2 of the traditional styles associated with the music of Spain. Even though these 2 are very common, there are a lot of other various dance styles and traditional music that differs in different areas in the country. For instance, bagpipes are the major feature in north-west Spain, while the north and center of Spain have various versions of jot music. Southern Spain is linked with flamenco music.

Spanish music was a major influence in the development of classical music in the west, starting from fifteenth century, up to the early parts of the seventeenth century. Spanish music dates as far back as the first century, and has experienced a lot of development over the years. Despite the fact that pop music from Spain is presently flourishing, it suffered some set back between 1939 and 1975, during the regime of Francisco Franco. The period saw performers from Spain having just few outlets to perform.

Musicians and audiences in Spain were profoundly impacted by the British and American music, majorly the rock and roll. With the boom of tourism between the 1960s and 1970s, new styles of music further found their way into Spain from the other parts of the world. Several cultures and tradition were, therefore, also a major influence on the music of Spain.

The different areas in Spain usually have a particular type of music, for which they are most popular. The flamenco and the jota music are amongst the most popular in Spain. Several areas have a local jota type, that is peculiar to them and slightly different from the jota type available in other countries. Valencia as well as the Navarre and La Rioja area has a local Jota kind. In Murcia, the flamenco style known as cantejondo and accompanied by the guitar is more common. Zambombas, accordions, tambourines, guitars, castanets and triangles are used for playing the Jota in Extremadura, where some other genres of their music have strong Portuguese influence. Catalonia on the other hand is popularly known for their rumba catalania and sardana music. A slow version of jota music is popular in Leon, Madrid and Castile. There is also the Basque music, which is the most popular and peculiar music type in the Basque country of Spain. It is accompanied by the Trikitixa dance. The major instruments that accompany the Basque music are the tambourine and accordion. The colla de xeremiers or Xeremiers music is also unique to Balearic Islands. The bagpipe or gaita is the signature musical instrument in Galici, Cantabria and Asturias.

Over the years, there have been several Spanish musicians that have contributed towards the development and improvement of the music in Spain. Some notable Spanish musicians include Ketama, RocioJurado, El Fary and Andy y Lucas.