top of page

Baroque Music in Spain

In Baroque era Spain, there were a number of significant composers of solo instrumental music for organ and vihuela. Spanish composers were the first to compose theme and variations, which became a significant instrumental form elsewhere in Europe as the period progressed. Many Italian composers worked in Spain during this period, and Spanish composers often received training in Italy, so it is not surprising that a clear Italian influence can be heard in Spanish Baroque music. In vocal music, this can be seen not only in the melodic and formal elements, but also in the choice of instruments, particularly the use of paired high voices accompanied by paired high instruments.

The continuing development of the Spanish villancico is also notable. During the late Renaissance-early Baroque period, the villancico began to be defined as a vernacular-language sacred composition that draws on popular or folk music elements. Composers drew on various dialects and lively, syncopated folk rhythms unique to various regions or ethnic minority groups, including the Galician region and the Roma and North African ethnic groups. This type of composition is unique for the period, and villancicos remain to this day a rare example of the successful marriage of folk and art music.

Zorzal repertoire:


Serafin (Joan Cererols, 1618–1680) is presented as a villancico on the birth of Christ, but it can also be read as a love song. It is an example of polychoral (multiple chorus, with the choruses answering back and forth to each other) style, which was common at large cathedrals during the period. Joan Cererols  was a Catalan musician and Benedictine monk who worked at the Monastery of Montserrat.

Hermosa zagala (Carlos Patiño, 1600–1675)

A este sol peregrino (Tomás de Torrejón y Velasco, 1644–1728)

Villancicos Gallegos

El fervor de los gallegos (Miguel de Irizar, 1635–1684)

Zumbe a gaita (Miguel de Irizar)


Trio Sonata (José de Vaquedano, 1642-1711)

Trio Sonata (Francisco José de Castro, fl. 1695-1708)

Codice Saldivar (Santiago de Murcia, 1673–1739)

Works by Gaspar Sanz (1640–1710)

Battalla de Barabaso Yerno de Satanas (Andrea Falconieri, 1585/6-1656, an Italian composer who travelled extensively in Spain)

bottom of page